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BA.5 COVID-19 Variant | University of Utah Health




July 29, 2022 11:00 AM

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The Omicron wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is not over. And the latest variant may be the most contagious strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The BA.5 subvariant is now dominant strain COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, causing new infections. BA.5 is First Omicron Strain, also known as BA.1. Scientists continue to study the latest variant, but here’s what we know:

BA.5 is highly contagious

according to Center for Disease Control and Infectious Diseases (CDC) says Omicron spreads more easily than previous COVID-19 variants. BA.5 has also proven to be more contagious as it is a subspecies of Omicron. The virus has become more efficient at evading the immune system, causing an increase in COVID-19 infections.

BA.5 evades immunity

As the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to spread, breakthrough infections are becoming more common. evolution and mutationThis is especially true for BA.5. Dr. Steven Goldstein, a virologist at the University of Utah Spencer-Fox-Eccles School of Medicine, said, “Each of these variants is similar to the previous variant in that they infect vaccinated and previously infected individuals. Better than seeds. People who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or recently infected with another variant are at risk of contracting BA.5.

The good news is that vaccinations and booster shots prevent you from becoming seriously ill. It’s very important that people understand that it greatly increases their chances,” says Goldstein.

If so, why can you still be reinfected with BA.5? After getting the COVID-19 vaccine or being infected with the virus, the immune system releases virus-targeting antibodies, memory T cells, etc. , builds many layers, explains Goldstein. If another he was introduced to a COVID-19 variant, those antibodies would not recognize the new variant either. This is because viruses acquire mutations and look different. This makes it difficult for the immune system to quickly recognize and block new virus variants. After infection, the immune system initiates another line of defense: memory T cells. Studies show that these late-acting T cells are also effective against new variants and still provide protection from severe disease.

Symptoms of BA.5 are similar to previous COVID-19 variants

At this time, the symptoms caused by BA.5 appear to be similar to those caused by other Omicron variants. Common symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. However, Goldstein says the symptoms of COVID-19 appear to be less severe overall compared to previous variants such as Delta. This is partly because more people have been vaccinated or infected with his COVID-19 virus.

COVID-19 vaccine works against BA.5

Vaccines against COVID-19 continue to protect people from severe disease, especially those who receive booster doses. COVID-19 booster shot Helps maximize protection. The vaccine makes him less likely to get BA.5 than his previous COVID-19 variant, and also helps prevent hospitalization and death.

“There are definitely good reasons to stay up to date on vaccines: to boost and get vaccinated,” says Goldstein.

Due to how far SARS-CoV-2 has evolved, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccine Manufacturers Advised Update COVID-19 vaccine from Fall 2022 to protect against Omicron variants. “If BA.5 is the dominant variant even in the fall, it will be a very good combination,” says Goldstein. Renewing the COVID-19 vaccine annually is similar to the current practice of renewing the influenza vaccine annually.

Wearing a mask gives you extra protection

People with compromised immune systems or those at high risk should continue to wear good things. high quality mask Indoors or when a large number of people gather.

CDC also recommends wearing a mask in public during the COVID-19 outbreak. community level where you live Moderate Also high.

“I think everyone who has been infected, whether they’ve been vaccinated or had it before, knows that they’re getting it again,” Goldstein said. say. “If you want to minimize your chances of contracting the virus, your best protection is a COVID-19 vaccine, boosters and a quality mask.”




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