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Mumbai: 3 international arrivals test COVID-19 positive, samples sent for genome sequencing and 'S' gene test

11:48 PM Dec 01, 2021 | Swapnil Mishra

Three more international travellers have tested Covid-19 positive, following which their samples have been sent for genome sequencing and the ‘S’ gene test. Of the four travellers who have tested positive so far, the S-gene has been detected in the sample from one of the patients. Of the three new cases, three are males, two of them aged 21 and 25; both had returned from London, while the third one is 37 and had returned from Mauritius. He was staying in a hotel as he was supposed to travel to another country. “All the patients are asymptomatic and have been institutionally quarantined. Two were confirmed positive through contact tracing, while a third person had himself tested and turned out to be Covid-positive,” said an official.

Since the Omicron mutation is in the S-gene, a sample positive for this variant will have the S-gene missing. The World Health Organisation had suggested that countries using the PCR test containing the S-gene could utilise the S-gene target failure, an indicator for infection by Omicron subject to confirmation by genome sequencing.

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“We are taking due care and the samples of all travellers are being sent for RT-PCR. We have found the S-gene in one of the samples, which means Omicron is not present. Meanwhile, the S-gene results of three samples are expected today (December 2). If the S-gene is missing, in that case, it will be presumed that the traveller may be infected (with Omicron),” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.

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