Which variants are circulating and contagious?
According to the National Institute of Public Health, two cases in Romania are BA.4 and seven are BA.5 (Inspi). The European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) reclassified these subvariants as “of concern.” INSP reports three BA.5 subvariant infections in the first week of June. 5, no BA.4.
Subvariants lack immunity
Specialists believe BA.4 and BA.5 spread because they can avoid immune protection induced by infection or vaccination, especially after a long time. Partial data from studies indicate that BA.4 and BA.5 can escape the immune protection induced by BA.1 (the original Omicron variant) in unvaccinated people. Vaccinated people have had better results in in-vitro studies so far, but vaccine protection against the Omicron variant decreases over time.
According to ECDC specialists, there is no evidence that these subvariants are more severe than the other Omicron variants. South African scientists identified the last Sars-Cov-2 variants at the end of last year and isolated the two subvariants responsible for a new wave of infections in the country. Covid-19 most affects South Africa. In Portugal, BA.5 is popular.
Octavian Jurma commented on Facebook about Romania’s decision to report SARS-COV-2 infections weekly. Last week, two BA.4 cases and seven BA.5 cases were confirmed. The decision to report daily data to monitor the Covid-19 pandemic’s evolution was precipitated by last week’s worsening pandemic picture. Do we have objective reasons to “snuff out” Covid-19? Based on last week’s data, we should increase pandemic supervision, says the researcher.
The number of cases has increased under conditions in which little is tested, and the number of hospitalised children is higher, the researcher argues. Jurma says our decision contrasts with the EU’s announcement to extend the green certificate by one year, which has not been adopted.
The researcher urges immunisation of adults and children with 3 doses now and a fourth dose in August: “It’s the only way to slow the explosion of infections.”
Prof. Emilian Popovici, vice-president of the Romanian Epidemiology Society, SRE, says, “As it results from the sequences made in us in the last weeks, in parallel both subvariants BA. 2 and the Delta variant and more recently, the subvariants BA. 4 and BA. 5 have different mutations, but the Spike protein mutations are identical. From this perspective, the two subvariants are very close. SARS-COV-2 does not deny the circulation of its variants and subvarians, even if the intensity varies by season, the university says.
The specialist adds that now that summer is here, it will be interesting to see how the virus evolves in autumn and winter. In the fall and winter, it’s unlikely that waves from the past will resurface. Because a large percentage of people have post-vaccine immunity, another large percentage have post-infectious immunity, and the accumulated information about this virus allows for timely action, said the SRE Vice-President.