Science

Yet another Omicron subvariant causing concern as BA.5 is widespread in the US

in great shape , Mumbai, India June 7: A health worker collects swab samples of a citizen for COVID-19 testing as cases rise in the city, at TMC’s CR Wadia Hospital testing center in Thane on June 7, 2022 in Mumbai, India . ,

As the Omicron coronavirus subvariant BA.5 blazes through the US – accounting for an estimated 54 percent of cases in the country – experts are eyeing another subvariant that threatens to follow hot on its heels.

The subvariant is referred to as BA.2.75 and was first detected in India in late May. The newcomer BA.2.75 began to rapidly make its way in June, amid the spread of BA.2 and BA.5 in India. this week it arrived 23 percent of recent virus samples There. Meanwhile, it spread beyond the borders of India. it exists now about 10 other countriesAccording to the World Health Organization, including the US.

are experts related About the new subvariant, and not just because of its rapid growth. many in Mutations in its spike protein—the key protein that allows the virus to take hold of human cells and proteins that serve as a major target for immune responses. Notably, BA.2.75 has dominant mutations that suggest it may be good Avoiding Antibody Reactions In people who have been vaccinated and/or previously infected with omicron subtypes.

“This subvariant has some mutations on the receptor binding domain of the spike protein, so obviously, it is an important part of the virus that attaches itself to the human receptor, so we have to look at it,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organization Chief Scientist of a video lecturer this week,

Swaminathan notes that, for now, the number of samples and sequences is still small, and our understanding of this variant of the virus is limited. “It is still too early to know whether this subtype has additional immune evasion properties or, indeed, is more clinically severe. We do not know that. Therefore, we will have to wait and see.” Will,” she said, adding that WHO is monitoring the subvariant closely.

US position

So far, three cases of BA.2.75 have been detected in the US, which were identified in California and Washington state. Helix—a California-based viral surveillance company that works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track emerging coronavirus variants—confirmed a third US case in an email to Ars on Friday. Samples from the three US cases were collected on June 14, June 15 and June 27.

Helix said it’s still too early to predict how Ba.2.75 will play out in the US, but the subvariant is worth keeping an eye on — which echoes the warnings from outside experts.

Meanwhile the BA.5 is dominating the US. The prevalence of the previous ruling Omicron subvariant, BA.2.12.1, has dropped to an estimated 27 percent. BA.4—a subvariant that shares the same spike mutation as BA.5 and has spread elsewhere with BA.5—seems to account for just 16.5 percent of US cases.

Amid the rise of BA.5, cases have maintained a high plateau, although many cases detected by at-home rapid tests are not being reported. According to tracking by The New York Times, the country is reporting an average of about 108,000 new cases every day. Some experts are eagerly waiting to see if there will be any surge after the Independence Day celebrations. Just before the holiday, the positivity rate of the tests reported jumped to around 17.5 per cent.

Otherwise, the number of daily hospitalizations has risen 15 percent to an average of 35,651 in the past two weeks. Admissions to intensive care units are also up 16 percent. The deaths have stopped at around 320 per day.

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