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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Omicron subvariants revealed behind South African boom in Canada

Two new Omicron subvariants have been found in Canada to increase COVID-19 infections in South Africa.

In an email to CTVNews.ca, a spokesperson for a Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) confirmed that they are aware of three cases of BA.4 and one in BA.5 in Canada.

“The Government of Canada has a robust surveillance program in place with provinces and territories to identify COVID-19 variants in Canada, including the Omicron variant of the concern and its sub-lineages,” he said. “Scientists are looking for indications that Omicron sub-lineages such as BA.4 and BA.5 alter disease severity, transmission efficiency or affect the effectiveness of diagnostic tests, vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.” Huh.”

The latest government data shows that the highly transmissible BA.2 Omicron subvariant is currently the most common cause of COVID-19 infection in the country.

“As with all new sub-lineages of COVID-19, scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada, along with national and international experts, are actively monitoring and evaluating the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages and related studies are doing, a PHAC spokesperson said.

A preliminary study, which has not been peer-reviewed, suggests that BA.4 and BA.5 “show potentially higher transmittance over BA.2” and may possibly escape antibodies produced from previous omicron infections.

Another study, which is undergoing peer-review, suggests that although vaccination “will provide good protection against serious disease,” the ability of the two subtypes to evade antibodies “results in a new infection wave”. Might be possible.

That wave has already started in South Africa, where BA.4 and BA.5 were first identified.

“The subvariants are causing a huge jump in cases,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). Media briefing on Tuesday, “Omicron, and in particular BA.4 and BA.5, is driving the boom in South Africa, while BA.2 is dominant around the world.”

Since late April, the number of new COVID-19 infections in South Africa has swelled into the thousands every day, up from hundreds a month earlier. In a May 4 update, the WHO said there were more than 32,000 cases in the country, an increase of 67 percent, compared to the previous week. Less than 40 percent of the population of 60 million are fully vaccinated.

The WHO initially announced that it was tracking a few dozen BA.4 and BA.5 cases on April 11. Over the past month, the subvariant has been detected in countries such as Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Austria, the United States and Denmark. ,

“The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants were identified because South Africa is still conducting important genetic sequencing that many other countries have stopped doing,” Ghebreyesus said earlier in May.

According to the WHO, it is too soon to know whether BA.4 and BA.5 cause more severe disease.

“It’s still very early days with this,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 technical chief. video of may 3, “What we can say at the present time is that it is really important to get people vaccinated. Vaccines still work incredibly well to prevent serious illness and death.”


Reuters and CTVNews.ca Writer Solarina Ho . with files of

World Nation News Desk
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