“The variant is not likely to pose serious risk to Indian population. The worst-case scenario is that the variant will cause mild upper respiratory symptoms for one or two days,” said Dr V Ravi, virologist and head of research and development at Tata Medical and Diagnostics, Bengaluru.
Ravi said the new variant is likely to behave like the known novel coronavirus. “In China, the population has been neither exposed to the variant nor have they been vaccinated. In those people, any Omicron sub-lineage will behave like the parent SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
The surge in China has prompted India to adopt preventive measures, including ramping up tests and booster shots, random screening of international flyers, and telling people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Experts said the virus has mutated to a much milder form, and a large number of Indians have acquired hybrid immunity following exposure or vaccination.