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New omicron subvariants discovered: WHO

New omicron subvariants discovered: WHO

The number of COVID infections and deaths from continues to decline, but the director of the World Health Organization said Wednesday that South African scientists who discovered the omicron strain have discovered two new subvariants.

Tedros Ghebreyesus said at a press webinar that COVID-19 infections and fatalities are continuing to decline globally, with reported weekly deaths at their lowest since March 2020.

“But these trends, while welcome, don’t tell the full story. Driven by Omicron sub-variants, we are seeing an increase in reported cases in the Americas and Africa,” said Tedros.

“The South African scientists who identified Omicron late last year have now reported two more Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, as the reason for a spike in cases in South Africa.”

The WHO chief said it is too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other omicron sub-variants, recommending vaccinations for protection.
Still, early data suggest vaccination remains protective against severe disease and death, he said.

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