7 June 2024

The Thai Medical Sciences Department has found four possible cases of infection by the BA.2.2 strain of the COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant in Thailand, but has asked the public not to panic because BA.2.2 is not yet regarded as a variant of concern, said the department’s head, Dr. Supakit Sirilak today (Monday).

The strain was found in one foreigner and three Thais, with confirmation still pending. He said, presently, there is insufficient information to assess the severity or transmissibility of the strain accurately.

Dr. Supakit said, presently, there is insufficient information to assess the severity or transmissibility of the strain accurately. He said it is too soon to conclude that BA.2.2 can spread faster or is more serious than other variants.

According to the doctor, 386 BA.2.2 cases have been detected in Hong Kong and 289 cases in Britain.

Between March 5th and 11th, the Medical Sciences Department diagnosed 1,961 Omicron variant cases out of a total of 1,967 COVID infections, representing 99.69%, with only six cases of the Delta variant, representing just 0.31% of all infections.

The BA.2 strain accounts for 67.6% of Omicron cases and 32.4% of BA.1 strain infections, but Dr. Supakit said that BA.2 is steadily rising as it is four times more transmissible than BA.1.

He maintained that the BA.3 strain has not yet been detected in Thailand.

For the time being, according to Munich-based GISAID, BA.1 is still the dominant strain of the Omicron variant.

Omicron spread rapidly, but BA.2 spreads faster. The severity of the two variants does not differ much and more people are being infected by the BA.2 variant, citing the case in Hong Kong which, according to Dr. Supakit, may be due to insufficient hospital beds being available to accommodate the patients.