Despite the fact that the WHO believes that the end of the coronavirus pandemic is “already in sight”, they do not continue New Subvariants Appearing which could jeopardize this recovery. After the spread of the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron lineages, which became dominant before the summer, experts have now discovered Subvariant BA.4.6It is there gaining ground It is spreading in the US and also in the UK.
Manal MohammedProfessor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Westminster in London outlines this in an article published Conversation All the information available to date on this new sub-line from Omron and if it poses a risk for the population.
As explained, the BA.4.6 version in mid-August represented 3.3% of the samples analyzed in the United Kingdom. In a matter of a month, its growth has become more up to 9% sequenced cases.
“It is not entirely clear how BA.4.6 came about, but it is possible a recombinant versionexplains Mohamed, although it is known that he is a descendant of the BA.4 version of the omicron. This recombination occurs when two different types of SARS-CoV-2 infect the same person at the same time. .
In this sense, although BA.4.6 is similar to BA.4 in many ways, it “carries” Protein S. mutation in (spike) that allows it to enter our cells.” This mutation, R346T, “has been seen in other forms and associated with immune evasionWhich means it helps the virus evade the antibodies acquired by vaccination and previous infection”, points out the expert.
Since omicron infection usually causes a less severe disease And even fewer deaths than the previous variant, “we hope this also applies to BA.4.6,” says Mohamed, “there are no reports yet of this variant causing more severe symptoms.”
refering to this type of communicationEverything BA.4.6 . points to Improves immune system Compared to BA.5, is currently the major version. Mohamed points to a recent report from 9 September released by the UK Health Protection Agency, which indicates that this subtype “replicates more rapidly in the early stages of infection and has an increase of greater than BA.5”.
Similarly, there is also concern about effectiveness of vaccines Before this new variant. According to the University of Oxford, people who received three doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine produced fewer antibodies in response to BA.4.6 than the previous BA.4 or BA.5 variants. “This suggests that vaccines BA.4.6. may be less effective than“Warns this expert.
Mohamed has emphasized the appearance of this and other newcomers, as “it shows that the virus is still with us and Making changes to find new ways to kick off our immune response Vaccinations and previous infections.
The microbiologist warned, “We know that people who have had COVID before can get the virus again, and this is especially true in the case of Omicron. In some cases, subsequent episodes can be worse. Huh.”
Despite this, “vaccination continues to provide good protection against serious diseases and is the best weapon we have to fight COVID.” For this reason, “the development of multiple-choice coronavirus vaccines that target multiple variants may provide even more sustainable protection,” they concluded.