Over 80 COVID-19 BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variant cases found in Thailand to date
A total of 81 cases of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variant infections have, so far, been found in Thailand, according to latest information from the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).
Medical Services Department chief Dr. Somsak Akksilp said today (Thursday), citing international reports, that BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are easily transmissible, have the ability to avoid immunity, attack the lungs of patients and have a tendency to cause more serious symptoms than the original Omicron variant.
He said, however, that the situation is under control as the BA.4 and BA.5 cases are few and rare, hence, are not of concern for the time being.
The Centre for Medical Genomics, at the Faculty of Medicine of Ramathibodi Hospital, said on its Facebook page that the two Omicron sub-variants have raised global concern due to their ability to attack the cells of human lungs, like the Delta variant, resulting in severe symptoms, which are different to the BA.1 and BA.2 sub-variants.
It also said that the World Health Organization has classified the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants as viruses under watch, because the sub-variants are spreading in South Africa and have mutated into the R452 sub-variant whereas, in the United States, the BA2.12.1 sub-variant has mutated into the Q452 sub-variant, which is similar to the Delta variant.
In Thailand, there have been 49 cases of BA.5 and 32 cases of BA.4 infections, as well as 25 cases of BA.2.12.1 sub-variant infections.
According to the COVID-19 Information Centre today, 2,299 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, including 5 cases among overseas arrivals, and 18 fatalities. 602 people have been put on ventilators.
Since February 28th, 139,293,613 doses of vaccines have been administered in Thailand, amounting to 56.9 million first doses, 53 million second doses, and 29.3 million booster shots.