Two new mutations, BA.4 and BA.5 are currently causing a wave of infections in South Africa. “Omicron is very creative in forming variants,” says virologist Norbert Nowotny. The virologist says that the small but growing number of BA.4 and BA.5 cases is something to keep an eye on. “This is being done very well in Austria. On the one hand, with sample sequencing and wastewater analysis. A trend will be seen in the next few weeks.”
For the moment, however, he said, these slightly more than 30 cases should not be classified as tragic. What Austria can learn from the situation in Africa is “to prepare for the fall and winter. Because there will most likely be another corona wave in Europe and thus also in Austria,” the expert said. No one would still have time to make preparations because, so far, the mutations were always ahead of us by a nose.
Nevertheless, vaccination is and remains essential. Because it prevents a severe course due to the infestation of the lungs, explained virologist Monika Redlberger-Fritz. Vaccine manufacturers are currently working at full speed on a so-called pan-vaccine, a vaccine that covers a wide range of variants. “These vaccines could give us a head start,” Nowotny says. In the best case, they could even prevent future pandemics. Whether BA.4 and BA.5 will become established in Austria by the fall and replace BA.2 remains. Depending on the assessment of the situation, the following steps will then be taken. Nowotny assumes an annual vaccination in the fall with an adapted vaccine for the future. Everyone, especially high-risk patients, should be vaccinated for this. Immunity is not achieved by going through an infection – regardless of subtype, whether vaccinated or not.
- source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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