The Thai Department of Medical Sciences today, June 24th, reported the rapid spread of BA.4 and BA.5 strain of Covid-19 which has now reached 200 cases in Thailand.
The Department’s Director General Supakit Sirilak said to the Associated Press that only the Omicron variant is classified as a variant of concern. Now there are Omicron’s subspecies or descendant lineages, namely BA.2.12.1, BA.2.9.1 BA.2.11 BA.2.13, and BA.4 and BA.5.
But, the BA.4 and BA.5 is the most concerning subspecies strain as it mutates in the L452R position, which was the same as the Delta variant, causing more harm to human lungs than previous strains according to Supakit. Moreover, there is a concern that the new strain will spread as rapidly and as virulently as the Delta variant.
According to WHO, World Health Organization, the number of new infections caused by BA.4 and BA.5 mutation worldwide has increased from 16 percent to 25 percent in the past two weeks. In Thailand, about 200 cases of such strains were found, mostly in the Bangkok area. However, there were no reports of severe cases or fatalities caused by the species in Thailand yet and the current medicine and vaccines is still available and can still be treated.
The Director General said: “No one can really say whether the strain will be more severe or not. But, people who have been infected with Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 in the past can be re-infected with the BA.4 and BA.5 strain. For those who have not been vaccinated and are infected with BA.4 and BA.5, their immune system efficiency will decrease 6-7 times when battling against the virus. But, for those who are fully vaccinated, their immunity efficiency will reduce to only 1-2 times.”
“Although wearing a mask has become voluntary, it is recommended that wearing a mask and washing hands are public awareness and can help prevent the infection of the new strain and other diseases.” Supakit concluded.
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