You can now get COVID again within 4 weeks with the new Omicron BA.5 variant, says health expert

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The COVID variant Omicron BA.5 is on the rise.Getty Images

  • Omicron BA.5 is the dominant COVID strain in the US.

  • One expert called it “the worst version of the virus we’ve seen.”

  • It is 4 times more resistant to antibodies and can reinfect people within weeks.

Health experts in the US and beyond have determined that the strain of the coronavirus currently responsible for most infections in the US is Omicron BA.5, quickly reinfect people who are already protected against the virus.

It used to be thought that people who have been vaccinated, received antibody treatments or developed natural immunity against contracting the virus lower risk of getting COVID-19at least in the months after exposure.

However, Western Australia Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson told: that he sees people getting infected with COVID-19 again within weeks.

“What we’re seeing is an increasing number of people who have become infected with BA2 and become infected (again) after four weeks,” he said. “So maybe six to eight weeks (later) they develop a second infection, and that’s almost certainly BA4 or BA5.”

As of July 2, Omicron BA.5 was responsible for approximately 53% of COVID infections in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention† BA.4, another contagious Omicron subvariant, was responsible for 16.5% of infections

The two subvariants are known to have mutations that allow them to evade protection against the virus from COVID-19 vaccines or previous infections.

Newest sub-variants are extra resistant to antibodies

A recent study of University of Columbia that has not yet been peer-reviewed, the recent BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants were found to be at least four times more resistant to protection against the virus compared to previous variants in the Omicron line.

Researchers led by David Ho, MD, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, took antibodies from people who had received at least three doses of an mRNA vaccine, or received two injections, and were then infected with Omicron. In a lab study, they looked at how these antibodies performed against Omicron subvariants.

Compared to their predecessors, the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants were: at least four times more resistant to antibodies, increasing the risk of reinfection in vaccinated people.

Peter Chin-Hong, infectious disease expert from the University of California, San Francisco, told the Los Angeles Times that variants BA.4 and BA.5’s “superpower is reinfection.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, BA.5 “the worst version of the virus we’ve seen” in a recent blog post due to its ability to evade immunity and increased transmissibility.

Read the original article Business Insider

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