11 July 2024

The Thai Medical Sciences Department has recently found 10 Omicron sub-variant cases in Thailand, including two cases of BA.2.3.20, which is easily transmissible, three cases of BA.4.5, which is capable of evading the immune system, and three cases of XBB.X, but there are no signs that these are ofserious concern, according to Dr. Supakit Sirilak, director-general of Medical Sciences Department.

He said that most of the new COVID-19 infections are of the Omicron BA.5 sub-variant, which is the current globallydominant sub-variant, adding that, according to the World Health Organisation, there is no evidence that the BQ1m BQ.1.1 sub-variants are more serious than BA.4 or BA.5.

Dr. Supakit insisted that no new COVID-19 strain has been found yet, but there are numerous sub-variants of Delta, Alpha, Gamma and Omicron. He said AY.103 is not a new strain, but a mutation of the Delta strain and only one case has been reported to GISAID, without evidence of increased severity.

Thailand has reported to GISAID six cases of BF.5, two cases of BF.7, two cases of BQ.1, five cases of BE.1, two cases of BE.1.1, nine cases of BN.1, three cases of BA.4.6, five cases of XBB.X and two cases of BA.2.3.

Dr. Supakit explained that virus mutations are normal but, to date, there have not been reports of increased severity of the new sub-variants, as more people in the world have been vaccinated, helping to reduce the death toll.

He noted, however, that between October 22nd and 28th, the Medical Sciences Department had analysed 143 COVID samples and found five cases of BA.2, 118 cases of BA.4/BA.5, 10 cases of BA.2.75 and 10 other sub-variant cases.

Regarding the BA.2.75 cases, he said it was an increase from the normal 3-5 cases per week, hence the need for follow-up monitoring adding, however, that the BQ.1 sub-variant will also be monitored to determine whether it will multiply like it is in Europe.