Omicron subvariant BA.2 accounts for 18% of Covid-19 infections in Thailand

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The Department of Medical Sciences says the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2 makes up 18.5% of Covid-19 cases in Thailand. However, department boss Supakit Sirilak says that while BA.2 appears to be faster spreading, there is no indication it results in more severe illness or is more likely to evade vaccines.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the DMS examined 567 Omicron samples during the period February 5 – 11 and 18.5% of them have been confirmed as BA.2, while the remainder are BA.1. Supakit says 42 imported Covid-19 infections, tested during the same period, were also found to be BA.2. However, he says the subvariant does not appear to pose a higher risk in terms of severe illness or its ability to bypass vaccines.

“There are some signs that BA.2 spreads faster than BA.1, looking at cases in other countries, but there has not been any significant difference from BA.1 when it comes to severity and vaccine avoidance.”

The BA.2 subvariant was first reported in the kingdom earlier this year and cases of other Covid-19 variants in Thailand are now rare. Supakit says BA.2 has also been discovered in another 57 countries and is expected to replace the original BA.1 in India, Denmark, and Sweden. He adds that it could do the same in Thailand, given how fast it spreads.

The Omicron Covid-19 variant is now dominant worldwide and Supakit says research from overseas confirms that booster vaccine doses can protect against infection, severe illness, and death. Omicron accounted for 94.2% of Covid infections reported in Thailand between January 30 and February 4, while the remainder were Delta. 99.4% of imported infections during the same period were also Omicron. Bangkok had the highest accumulation of Omicron cases, at 6,641, followed by Phuket with 1,286 and Chon Buri with 1240.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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