WHILE the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are expected to spread across the country from end of August to early September infection rate will not increase significantly as is currently occurring in European countries, TV Channel 7 quoted the head of Ramathibodi Hospital’s Centre for Medical Genomics as saying today (July 1).
Prof. Emeritus Dr. Wasan Chantrathit said data from Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) showed that while the number of Europeans infected with BA.4 and BA.5 strains had climbed but not very steeply so, the mortality rate remained comparable to the early stages of BA.1 and BA. 2 outbreaks.
“Looking at Portugal, previously there was an alarming increase in the number of BA.4 and BA.5 cases but now the graph is starting to slide.
“If there is a worrying situation the World Health Organisation (WHO) would call an urgent meeting to prepare and cope with it but at the moment there is no signal yet,” he said.
Dr. Wasan said genome decoding during June 7-24 found 23 persons infected with BA.2, or 28.4%, 11 with BA.4, or 13.6%, 18 with BA.5, or 22.2%, eight with BA.2.12.1, or 9.9%, and 21 others, or 25.9%.
This shows that BA.4 and BA.5 are clearly increasing here but not very steeply. However in line with the global trend where relaxation of Covid control measures could lead to the dominance of the two new Omicron subvariants here too they will likely spread nationwide by end of August to early September.
“Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that vaccine manufacturers adjust their booster formula to deal with the new subspecies. It is therefore a worldwide trend for new subspecies to spread,” he said.
Regarding Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who tested positive for Covid after returning from a trip to France last weekend, Dr. Wasan said to go by his symptoms and that he had been in France where BA.4 and BA.5 outbreak is high ranking just after Portugal it is likely that he has been infected with these two strains.
The Public Health Ministry said this morning that there were 2,354 Covid cases and 16 deaths over the past 24 hours taking the cumulative confirmed total since Jan. 1 to 2,301,834, Thai Rath newspaper said.
Meanwhile another 2,154 patients were cured taking total recoveries since Jan. 1 to 2,301,996 with 24,115 patients still undergoing treatment.
Today’s 16 fatalities raised the death toll since Jan. 1 to 8,966.
Top: A representative image of new Omicron subvariants. Photo: Houstonmethodist.org
Front Page: An artist’s rendering of a new hybrid variant. Image: Shutterstock and published by Livescience.com