THE PUBLIC Health Ministry urged the public not to panic over World Health Organisation now monitoring three new Omicron subvariants, BA.4, BA.5, and BA.2.12.1, as so far only one case of BA.5 and two patients who were infected BA.2.12.1 but have now recovered have emerged, TV Channel 7 said today (May 9).
Dr. Supakit Sirilak, head of the Department of Medical Sciences, said mutation to BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages is of concern because this is occurring at position 452 that previously led to the Delta strain developing.
However it is too early to conclude if they are going to be as strong as Delta. Cases of the three new substrains have emerged in the US, South Africa, Germany and Denmark.
In Thailand it was a Brazilian who travelled here who was found infected with the BA.5 subvariant. The two patients infected with the BA.2.12.1 sublineage but have now recovered are from India and Canada.
It is the BA.2.12.1 which is problematic with there now being over 10,000 cases in the US and around the world. The mutation was different from BA.4 and BA.5 with the amino acid at position 452 changing from leucine to glutamine and this could help the virus evade the immune system more easily.
Currently a hundred percent of the cases in Thailand is Omicron with 97.6 percent being BA.2.
Regarding the various “X” hybrids, with the XJ variant, a combination of the BA.1 and BA.2 variants that was first detected in Finland and thought to have been found here, Dr. Supakit said the specimens sent to GISAID have not identified them to be compatible with any “X” cultivars.
Dr. Supakit also stated that BA.1 infection cannot prevent those by BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5 but those previously infected and have been vaccinated will not see their immunity reduced substantially.
Regarding RT-PCR tests, he pointed out that almost every country has reduced this test. Nevertheless the Thai laboratory surveillance system continues to detect these strains with at least 500 people checked each week and the ministry is ready for any emergency.
The focus is on detecting whether foreigners who fall seriously sick after entering the country are infected with any of the new subvariants.
The public is urged to have confidence in the country’s detection system which can handle problems in a timely manner and not panic.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said this morning there were 6,488 Covid cases and 55 deaths over the past 24 hours with four of the new patients being from overseas, Amarin TV said.
There were an additional 4,945 people who tested positive via ATK but this total was not added to the daily tally.
The cumulative confirmed total since the start of the pandemic to has now reached 4,331,338
Another 12,755 patients were cured taking total recoveries since the start of the pandemic to 4,217,238 with 84,957 still undergoing treatment.
Today’s 55 fatalities raised the death toll to 29,143.
Altogether 134,035,098 doses of vaccines have been administered so far.
Top: A graphic image illustrating new Omicron variants. Credit: Dw.com
Home Page: Dr. Supakit Sirilak. Photo: NNT