BA.4 and BA.5 – the World Health Organization is now monitoring these two new omicron subtypes. What we know so far about the new variants.
Since the pandemic began, new variants have continued to emerge. The World Health Organization (WHO) has added Omicron subtypes BA.4 and BA.5 to its monitoring of Omicron variants. Along with Delta, Omicron continues to be classified as a “variant of concern.” Both subtypes were detected in South Africa and Botswana a few days ago.
Initial positive tests have also been conducted in Denmark, Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom; Tulio de Olivera, director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa. His institution first detected the new virus strains. Some of the two new subvariants have different characteristics than other Omicron variants.
How dangerous BA.4 and BA.5 still need to be investigated
Specialists are investigating whether BA.4 and BA.5 spread faster than other virus lines, whether they differ from others in terms of disease progression, and how vaccines work against them. So far, there is no evidence that people infected with BA.4 or BA.5 have a more severe disease course, said WHO Covid 19 expert Maria van Kerkhove. But according to her, only fewer than 200 sequencing reads of these subvariants have been uploaded to the WHO database. Van Kerkhove called on countries to continue to monitor variant development closely.
With new coronavirus subvariants emerging, the World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned that countries are testing less. “We need to track this virus closely in every country,” said WHO Emergency Director Mike Ryan. He said the virus is constantly changing, and new developments must be detected as early as possible. “We cannot afford to lose sight of the virus.” It would be very short-sighted to think that the risk of infection has decreased because of fewer reported infections.
Omicron recombinations in the UK
Researchers in the UK have also recently drawn attention to three new virus variants. These are mixed variants, called recombinations, of omicron subtypes or delta and an omicron subvariant.
Special attention has been paid to the variant Omicron XE. It is a recombination of omicron subtypes BA.1 and BA.2. More than 1,000 cases of omicron XE have now been detected in the United Kingdom, according to the latest report from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). In the previous information, dated March 25, 2022, researchers detected the recombination 763 times.
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