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Circulation of Ômicron sublineages grows in South Africa, says professor

Professor Helen Rees, from South Africa, said this Thursday (28) that an increasing share of Covid-19 cases in the country are associated with the BA.4 and BA.5 sublines of the Ômicron variant of the new coronavirus. .

According to Helen, the findings suggest that the strains may have a spread advantage over others.

In an interview with the World Health Organization (WHO) press, the expert added that despite the increase in Covid-19 infections, South Africa does not experience a large increase in mortality or admissions to intensive care units (ICUs). until the moment.

Variant monitoring

The Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus remains the predominant strain circulating in the world. Among the 257,337 sequences available in the international Gisaid database, from samples collected in the last 30 days, 256,684 (99.7%) were Ômicron, 47 (<0.1%) were Delta and 555 (0.2%) sequences were not assigned to a lineage.

The WHO considers that although the decrease in sequences is consistent with the general trend of decrease in new cases, the indices may also reflect changes in epidemiological surveillance policies in some countries.

Given the changes in sampling and sequencing strategies, the WHO recommends that countries maintain genomic surveillance of the virus.

Since the emergence of Ômicron in November 2021, the virus has continued to evolve, giving rise to many descendant and recombinant lineages. The WHO stated that it continuously monitors the different strains and that the genetic diversification of Ômicron indicates a pressure of the virus to adapt to human hosts.

According to the WHO, each strain has additional or different mutations. However, the impacts of each mutation or constellation of mutations are not currently well known by the scientific community, which requires monitoring of any associated changes in the epidemiology of the disease.

(With information from Lucas Rocha, from CNN)

Source: CNN Brasil

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