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Status of sub-variables of the coronavirus omicron variant

Experts from the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the spread of omicron BA.4 and BA.5 in some parts of Africa and Europe. A few dozen of both variants track who, as well as previous versions of omicron (BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, and BA.1.1).

Today, the Omicron BA.2 strain is the dominant strain worldwide. The other two subtypes (BA.4 and BA.5) are circulating at low levels in many southern African and European countries, according to the World Health Organization. Based on current experience, scientists do not believe that BA.4 and BA.5 are more contagious or possibly more lethal than the original omicron mutations, but that is their opinion, as more and more cases will be discovered. It can change at any time.

Two of these subtypes of highly pathogenic COVID-19 strains have been detected in Botswana (South Africa), Germany and Denmark, according to Maria van Kerkhove, WHO. He explained that currently, BA.4 and BA.5 raise no more concerns than the original omicron mutations, but the perception of this seemingly favorable situation could quickly change if more cases are discovered by professionals. Van Kerkhove emphasizes the need to maintain genome surveillance systems in a very consistent and robust manner, as this is the only way to monitor and analyze these two subvariables. The leader’s observation was made shortly after the World Health Organization announced that in addition to previous omicron variants, a few dozen cases of BA.4 and BA.5 are currently being tracked.

New cases coming in a wave

The most contagious BA.2 variant is spreading rapidly worldwide and unleashing another wave of new coronavirus infections after an unprecedented wave of the original Omicron variant BA.1 broke out during the winter. Recently, the globally dominant strain is represented by BA.2. In the United States, this represents about 85% of new serial cases. It is most prevalent in the northeastern region of the country, where it accounts for about 92% of newly confirmed (serial) cases, according to recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The earliest BA.4 sample was collected on 10 January in South Africa. The data shows that variable ‘genome accumulation’ and geographic dispersal is another phenomenon, according to a statement issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) last week. As of April 8, South Africa has reported 41 BA.4 infections, Denmark three, Botswana two, and England and Scotland one each.

Although the total number of genomes is small, the apparent geographic distribution indicates that the variant is capable of spreadingA report from the UK Department of Health, which also says that 27 serial cases could be traced back to BA.5 by 8 April, were all reported in South Africa from 25 February to 25 March. The Botswana Department of Health reports that cases of both BA.4 and BA.5 were recently identified in fully vaccinated individuals aged 30 to 50 years.

The World Health Organization has begun tracing BA.4 and BA.5 to look for new mutations. “They need more study to understand how they affect the virus’s ability to escape and hide from the immune system.“Both sub variants have additional mutations in the region of the spiky protein, that is, the part of the virus that it uses to penetrate the human cell, but there are special mutations outside that region,” says the latest WHO report. In the report, experts explain that such mutations have the potential to bypass the immune system.

XE is secondary

Another subunit of omicron, circulating at low levels in many countries, is referred to by scientists as XE. XE is a “recombinant” version that occurs when a person is infected with more than one strain of the virus and they come together to form a new variant. For XE, this is a mixture of the original omicron BA.1 strain and the newer BA.2 strain, explains Van Kerkhove, WHO’s director for Covid. “As for the severity of the injury, we did not notice any changeHe said, noting that it was no more deadly than the previous tribes.

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However, according to a report from the UK Department of Health, recent data suggests that XE may be more contagious. But the description also indicated that this is an estimate for the time being, which does not indicate consistent, consistent values, as today’s discovery may change in light of the new data.

The first confirmed XE sample is dated January 19 – others have been discovered in the UK, Thailand, India, Israel and most recently Japan. However, according to the latest figures from Britain’s Health Safety Agency, the number of cases linked to the new strain in Britain has nearly doubled. After 637 cases on March 25, about 1,125 XE cases were identified by April 5.

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author: WEB Patient – Erzs├ębet Fazekas is a journalist
source: The World Health Organization tracks the omicron sub-variables BA.4 and BA.5 (CNBC)