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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Why is the Omicron BA.5 branch a big deal

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But suddenly, many people who have recovered from Covid-19 like the recent March or April find themselves exhausted, coughing and staring at two red lines on a quick test. How could this happen again – and so soon?

The culprit this time is another branch of Omicron, BA.5. It has three key mutations in its mutant protein, which make it both better at infecting cells and better at bypassing our immune defenses.

Laboratory studies of antibodies from the blood of people who have been vaccinated or recovered from recent Covid-19 infections have looked at their tolerance to BA.5 and this subvariable. can outperform them. So people who have had Covid as recently as winter or even spring again may be vulnerable to the virus.

“We don’t know about the clinical severity of BA.4 and BA.5 compared with our other Omicron sub-variables,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the Response Team briefing. Covid-19 of the White House on Tuesday. “But we know it’s easier to spread and more immune to avoid. People who have been infected before, even with BA.1 and BA.2, are still at risk for BA.4 or BA.5.”

A ‘comprehensive’ wave

As a result, we get sick a lot. As Americans move to faster tests at home, the official number of cases – currently about 110,000 new infections a day – reflects only a fraction of the true disease burden.

“We estimate that for every reported case there are seven unreported cases,” wrote Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrology at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. in an email.

Other experts say the wave could be 10 times higher than what is being reported today.

“We’re looking at maybe close to a million new cases a day,” Dr Peter Hotez said Monday on CNN. Hotez, chair of the National Department of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

That brings us into the range of cases reported during the first wave of Omicrons, in January. Remember when it seemed like everyone everywhere got sick at the same time? Such is the situation in the United States again.

It may not seem like such a big deal, because vaccines and better treatments have greatly reduced the risk of dying from Covid-19. However, an average of 300 to 350 people die every day from Covid-19, enough to fill a large passenger plane.

Undercounted Covid-19 cases blind the US as the BA.5 variant becomes dominant

“It’s unacceptable. It’s too high,” Dr. Ashish Jha, coordinator of the White House Covid-19 Response Team, said at Tuesday’s briefing.

Daily hospitalization rates are also increasing in the United States. The proportion of patients requiring intensive care increased by about 23% in the past two weeks. And other countries are also experiencing BA.5 wave.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: “I am concerned that Covid-19 cases continue to rise, putting further pressure on strained health systems and staff. I am also concerned about the increasing mortality trend.” , at a news conference on Tuesday after the agency decided to maintain its emergency declaration for Covid-19.

This pandemic “never ends,” he said.

What is at stake with constant spreads

There are also more insidious health risks to consider. A recent study comparing the health of people who have been infected with Covid-19 one or more times found that the risk of new and sometimes long-lasting health problems increases with each subsequent infection. that reinfection is not necessarily benign.

Although vaccination reduces the risk of prolonged Covid disease, a certain percentage of people have persistent symptoms after a breakthrough infection.

Reinfection with Covid-19 may increase the likelihood of new health problems

That’s another reason the high number of Covid-19 cases is such a big deal: Because the virus is still spreading wildly, it has every chance to mutate to create even easier versions. spread over and infect itself. It does this faster than we can change our vaccines, leaving us stuck in a repeat phase of the Covid pandemic.

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged Americans to use all available tools to prevent the spread of the virus, including coverings. face, ventilation and social distancing.

“We need to keep the virus levels as low as possible and that’s our best defense. If the virus doesn’t replicate and spread aggressively, it makes it less likely to break out.” more variable, making it less likely to be told by Fauci in a press conference about the possibility of another variant being developed.

In fact, this happened.

Meet BA.2.75

Even as the US makes provision with BA.5, variant hunters around the world are keeping a close eye on another descendant of Omicron, BA.2.75. It has been detected in about 10 countries, including the United States, and appears to be growing rapidly in India.

BA.2.75 has nine changes in its spike region to distinguish it from BA.2 and about 11 changes from BA.5, according to Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London.

Ulrich Elling, a scientist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences who tracks coronavirus variants for that country, said some of the mutations in BA.2.75 are in regions of the mutant protein known to be important. for the antibodies to bind to block the virus. .

FDA recommends changing composition of Covid-19 vaccine for use this fall

Very little information continues: It is not known, for example, how BA.2.75 can compete with BA.5 or whether it causes more severe disease. But experts say it has all the signs of a variant that could go global.

“It’s spread to many different countries, so we’re decoding virus samples for CDC and other clients,” said Shishi Luo, deputy director of bioinformatics and infectious diseases at Helix Labs, which decodes virus samples for the CDC and other clients. I know that it has some staying power.

So, and because of changes in the region of the virus that our antibodies look for to block it, “we knew in advance that this virus would cause some trouble,” Luo said.

Based on what we know now, she’s hopeful that this sub-variant could spur the fall Covid-19 wave in the United States.

In the meantime, Jha says, people should buy boosters available to them to keep their immunity as strong as possible. U.S. health officials emphasized that people who are fortified now can still receive updated immunizations this fall, including strains BA.4 and BA.5.

Jha specifically urged Americans 50 and older, “if you haven’t had your vaccine this year, get it now. It could save your life,” he said.

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Teja
Teja
I am passionate about journalism and using new technology to spread news. I am also interested in politics and economics, and I am always looking for ways to make a difference in the world. I am the CEO of Janaseva News, and I am 24 years old.

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