Australia Finds Exposure to Omicron BA4 and BA5 Subvariants in Wastewater Samples, What Are the Hazards?

Suara.com – Australia detected exposure to the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants for the first time. However, the findings were not in the form of cases of Covid-19 infection. Instead it was detected in the Melbourne, Australia’s wastewater catchment area.

The subvariant was found in samples taken from the Tullamarine watershed northwest of the city.

The Omicron BA.4 subvariant was first detected in March in South Africa, Botswana, Denmark and the UK. While BA.5 cases were detected in South Africa, with one case in Hong Kong.

Exposure to the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants is actually still rare, because there are also very few samples available for epidemiologists to study.

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Illustration of the latest Omicron XE variant. (Photo by Miguel . Padriñán from Pexels)

The World Health Organization (WHO) says fewer than 200 new strain sequences have been collected to date.

From initial data, epidemiologists say that BA.4 and BA.5 are similar to other Omicron strains that have appeared earlier.

WHO epidemiologist lead Maria Van Kerkhove said scientists would continue to track the Omicron strain. Preliminary findings show little difference between the BA.1 and BA.2 strains and the newer variants.

“We did not detect any change in the epidemiology of BA.4 or BA.5-infected people compared to the previous Omicron sub-lineage. We have not seen any change in severity,” said Dr Van Kerkhove, quoted by ABC News.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan added that mapping the evolution of the virus could be key in the next phase of dealing with the pandemic.

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“When the virus moves, we need to track it down. Because we don’t know what’s coming back,” said Dr Ryan.


Source: Suara.com – Berita Kesehatan Terkini by www.suara.com.

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