Tue, August 16, 2022

in-focus

New Omicron strains cause clearer symptoms than old ones, says virologist


Virologist Anan Jongkaewwattana pointed to “clearer symptoms” of Covid-19 cases infected with the new BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron.

Thailand has so far recorded 181 cases of BA.4 and BA.5, the Department of Medical Sciences reported on Friday.

Anan said on Saturday that over 50 per cent of patients with BA.4 and BA.5 were found to have fatigue, coughing, fever, headache and runny nose.

“The symptoms are clearer than those found in the Omicron’s first subvariants,” he said in a Facebook post, citing data collected by public health units in France.

The French data were collected from two groups of Omicron cases — 281 patients with the BA.1 subvariant and 288 patients with BA.4 and BA.5, he added.

A comparison of both groups showed that more cases with BA.4 and BA.5 had symptoms like fatigue, coughing, fever, headache and runny nose.

For example, almost 80 per cent of patients with BA.4 and BA.5 showed signs of fatigue, compared to a little over 50 per cent for those with the BA.1 subvariant.

Meanwhile, more than 50 per cent of patients with BA.4 and BA.5 had a runny nose, compared to only 25 per cent of those with BA.1.

Of the 12 BA.4 and BA.5 cases who were sent to hospital, none became critically ill or died, Anan said.

“The good news is that BA.4 and BA.5 may not be a milder version of Omicron, but the immunity obtained from the vaccine is sufficient to prevent severe illness,” he wrote.

Anan is director of the Veterinary Health Innovation and Management Research Group at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Biotec).

Published : June 25, 2022