Monday Dec 13, 2021
KARACHI: The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) Monday confirmed it has detected Pakistan's first-ever case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a patient — who had no travel history — through gene-sequencing.
"Gene sequencing at AKUH has confirmed the presence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the first patient," reads the statement from the AKUH. "The patient is at home and doing well. So far, no other patients with COVID-19 Omicron have been identified at AKUH," it added.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) also confirmed the development via a series of tweets on Twitter as well.
"The NIH has been able to confirm (via whole genome sequencing) that a recently suspected sample from Karachi is indeed the ‘Omicron variant’ of SARS-CoV2," it tweeted.
"This is the first confirmed case but continued surveillance of suspected samples is in place to identify the trends."
NIH stressed on the importance of getting vaccinated to stay protected from existing and new coronavirus variants.
On December 9, Pakistan reported its first suspected case of the variant. However, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had clarified that a genomic study would confirm whether it is the Omicron variant of the virus or not.
"A genomic study is being conducted which will confirm the exact variant but for now getting both doses of the vaccine is the best precaution," she had said in a video statement issued by the provincial health ministry.
"We have not yet conducted a genomic study but the way the virus is behaving, it seems likely that it is the Omicron variant," she had said.
Separately, the health department had disclosed that the 57-year-old patient, with no travel history, was isolating at home, adding that efforts are underway to conduct contact tracing to confirm whether there are more infections or not.
The patient was unvaccinated and had no COVID-19 symptoms.