Botswana, South Africa Deepen Probe Into New Omicron Sub-Variants

Researchers in Botswana and South Africa have detected new sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 and are carrying out further investigations to fully understand crucial traits such as infectivity and virulence, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a press release.

The identified sub-lineages variant are BA.4 and BA.5.WHO experts are working with scientists and researchers in the two countries to deepen analysis of the sub-lineages which have so far been identified in four people in Botswana and 23 in South Africa. Outside Africa, the BA.4 and the BA.5 have been confirmed in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the UK.

"There is no cause for alarm with the emergence of the new sub-variants. We are not yet observing a major spike in cases, hospitalizations or deaths," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

"We are working with scientists in Botswana and South Africa to gain complete behavioural knowledge of these sub-lineages and supporting African countries enhance genomic surveillance to detect potentially dangerous variants and stay ahead of the virus," Dr Moeti said.

As of April 13, 2002, a total of 3,733,919 cases of Covid-19 has been confirmed in South Africa, of which 100,116 proved fatal and 3,622,097 resulted in recovery.

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