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Lianhe Zaobao Feature - Sebastian Maurer-Stroh

Feature Lianhe Zaobao_Sebastian_7 Jan 2022

Nearly half of the local virus gene sequences in the past four weeks are Omicron.


Singapore submitted a total of 387 Omicron genome sequences to the global GISAID database in the past four weeks, accounting for 48.3% of all sequences submitted. Singapore is ranked 18th in the world with the most Omicron genome sequences submissions.


Dr Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, Executive Director at A*STAR’s Bioinformatics Institute, explained that the number of genome sequences submitted by Singapore does not reflect all the COVID-19 cases in Singapore. The genome sequences include imported and locally transmitted cases, and the majority of the Omicron cases detected have been from travellers so far.


He pointed out that in December last year, the number of genome sequences submitted to GISAID in a single month had exceeded 1 million worldwide, surpassing the total number in the first year of the pandemic. "The tracking of Omicron strains can assist international public health policy makers to map and observe the speed and pattern of transmission of the Omicron variant.," he said. "It is important to know which variant the patients have been infected with to judge the relative severity of the variant. This data is coming through now and will guide new rules or responses.”


Also reported in: Lianhe Zaobao Online (View)