The World Health Organization is now tracking several dozen cases of two additional subtypes of the highly contagious Omicron strain of SARS-CoV-2 to assess whether they are more infectious or dangerous.
The World Health Organization announced Monday that it has added BA.4 and BA.5 to its watchlist. The organization has tracked other members of the Omicron family, including BA.1 and BA.2, the now globally dominant subalternatives, and BA.1 and BA.3.
The World Health Organization said it had begun tracking them for “additional mutations that need further study to understand their impact on immune escape potential.”
Viruses mutate all the time, but few mutations affect their ability to propagate or evade previous immunity from vaccination or infection, or the severity of the disease they cause.
For example, BA.2 now accounts for about 94 percent of all sequential cases and is more infectious than its sibling, but evidence to date suggests it is unlikely to cause serious illness.
According to the World Health Organization, only a few dozen cases of BA.4 and BA.5 have been reported to the global GISAID database.
BA.4 cases found in several countries
The UK’s Health Safety Administration said last week that BA.4 was found in South Africa, Denmark, Botswana, Scotland and the UK between 10 January and 30 March.
All were BA.5 cases in South Africa as of last week, but Botswana’s health ministry said Monday it had identified four BA.4 and BA.5 cases, all among people aged 30 to 50 who had been fully vaccinated. have mild symptoms. symptom.
Despite increasing genome percentages, BA.4 and BA.5 have not caused a large number of infections in South Africa, said Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Center for Epidemiological Response, and further evolution of the variant is expected. expect. And innovation in South Africa in Monday Post Series Shared on Twitter.
“Social media guru. Total beer fanatic. Tv ninja. Typical coffee fan. Amateur entrepreneur. Unapologetic food scholar.”