Africa Confirms Omicron Variant BA.4 and BA.5 Cases
Researchers in Botswana and South Africa today announced have detected new sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 in four people in Botswana and 23 in South Africa.
They are carrying out further investigations to fully understand crucial traits such as infectivity and virulence.
The identified sub-lineages variants are BA.4 and BA.5.
Outside of Africa, the BA.4 and BA.5 have been confirmed in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Currently, the WHO says no significant epidemiological difference is observed between the new sub-lineages and known sub-lineages of the Omicron variant, including BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3 sub-lineages.
“There is no cause for alarm with the emergence of the new sub-variants. We are not yet observing a major spike in cases, hospitalizations or deaths,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a press statement issued on April 12, 2022.
The WHO calls on countries to enhance genomic surveillance to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database and report initial cases or clusters of cases linked with a variant of concern to infection to the WHO.
Note: The WHO statement was edited for clarity and curated for mobile readership.