The WHO says omicrons BA.4 and BA.5 have spread to a dozen countries

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BA.4 and BA.5 subtypes of Omicron have been detected in more than a dozen countries, helping to fuel Covid’s sporadic outbreaks around the world, but highly mutated strains are still circulating at low levels, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Less than 700 cases of BA.4 have been detected in at least 16 countries and more than 300 cases of BA.5 have been detected in at least 17 countries. in response. media platforms.

Although the two subtypes do not make people sicker than the original omicron strain, they appear to be more contagious, Van Kerkhov said. The WHO has stated that it will monitor BA.4 and BA.5 as the main tensions around the world over whether they will eventually pass BA.2.

“We don’t know how this variant will behave, how those sub-variants in other countries that had a major BA.2 wave will be,” Van Kerhkov said. “That’s all there is to it.”

The two sub-categories, BA.4 and BA.5, have high detection rates, especially in South Africa, according to Kerhkover.

South Africa reported 395 BA.4 cases and 134 BA.5 cases on 6 May, the highest number in all countries, according to a report released by the UK Health Safety Agency last week. Countries are not sequencing genetic data for each Covid case, so the actual infections will be higher.

Just over 36 BA.4 cases were found in Austria, 24 in the UK, 20 in the US and 17 in Denmark, according to the report. Belgium, Israel, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland and Botswana have reported fewer than BA.4 10 cases, the report said.

About 57 BA.5 cases have been detected in Portugal, 52 in Germany and 17 in the UK, according to the report. The US, Denmark, France, Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Israel, Norway, Pakistan, Spain and Switzerland have reported fewer than 10 BA.5 infections.

The report notes that the number of sequences is small, but that “apparent geographical spread suggests that the variant is being transmitted successfully.”

Follow-up BA.2.12.1

A subset of other omicros called BA.2.12.1 has been detected in 23 countries, according to Van Kerkhove.

He said more than 9,000 sequences of the sub-variant had been reported, most of them coming from the US.

The BA.2.12.1 sequence accounted for about 42.6% of all new cases in the U.S. by the end of May 7, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BA.2 was still the country’s main sub-variant, accounting for 56.4% of all new sequence cases that week.

But BA.2.12.1 was predominant in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, accounting for 66.3% of all new cases sequenced in those states and territories, according to CDC data.

Van Kerkhov said he expects to increase the detection of BA.2.12.1 cases worldwide due to a higher growth rate than BA.2. But BA.2.12.1 showed no difference in hospitalization rates compared to BA.2, according to Van Kerkhove.

He called on governments around the world to closely monitor BA.2.12.1, BA.4, BA.5 and other sub-variants that may appear in the future, stressing the need to maintain Covid testing and sequencing.

“We are constantly talking to the government about the need to maintain surveillance systems so that they can be monitored, monitored and evaluated in real time,” Van Kerkhov said.

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The WHO says omicrons BA.4 and BA.5 have spread to a dozen countries

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