Today, the vast majority of cases of covid-19 that are detected in the world they have to do with some of the versions of the omicron variant; a mutation of the coronavirus that emerged in November of last year and that, in a matter of months, has become the virus with the fastest spread in history. As happened with the previous variants, omicron has also mutated. It has developed subvariants. And it has continued to spread through its most contagious versions.
Right now, the world is waiting of the direction that two take subvariants of omicron; BA.4 and BA.5some versions that are expanding rapidly in various parts of the globe and that, according to health authorities, could cause a new uptick in infections.
These are the keys to understanding what we know (and what we don’t know) about the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of ómicron and its expansion throughout the world.
Both BA.1 and BA.2 were first detected in South Africa between January and February 2022. Genetic analyzes of these variants suggest that, in both cases, the coronavirus incorporates a series of additional mutations. On the one hand, according to laboratory studies, the L452R mutation could make the virus more contagious and, on the other hand, the F486V mutation could help the virus to “partially evade our immune response”.
At the moment, according to several preliminary studies, everything points to BA.4 and BA.5 do not cause more severe cases than other mutations of the coronavirus. In fact, along the same lines as omicron, those infected with these sub-variants seem to develop mild symptoms (or asymptomatic pictures, especially in the case of the vaccinated). The most frequent symptoms detected to date are sore throat, nasal congestion, dry cough, and muscle pain. That is, on the same line as ómicron.
Today, experts warn, it is still unclear what direction these two sub-variants of omicron will take. Namely, whether they will become residual variants Or if, on the contrary, they could gain ground to the other versions of omicron. The latest global balances indicate that BA.4 and BA.5 currently represent a small proportion of covid-19 cases of the world. But, according to a recent report from the British health authorities, it seems that these omicron mutations could soon replace the current expanding variants. This, in turn, It would open the door to a possible new peak of infections of coronavirus.