Thai physician raises concerns over Omicron mutations as cases rise

One of Thailand’s top respiratory experts is urging the nation to be on guard for Omicron subvariants of the Covid-19 virus after the World Health Organization (WHO) raised concerns about mutations of the disease.

The WHO last week raised concerns about the public health implications of the rise of some Omicron variants, specifically XBB and its sublineages (indicated as XBB*), as well as BQ.1 and its sublineages (indicated as BQ.1*), which were discussed.

Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist with Vichaiyut Hospital in Bangkok, backed the WHO’s concerns adding that infections caused by subvariants of the Omicron strain have risen since last month. Strangely, Dr Manoon’s concern comes only a few days after the Ministry of Public Health announced that it has officially cancelled its plans to obtain more vaccines against the coronavirus.

Dr Manoon revealed that Vichaiyut Hospital last month confirmed 986 cases via antigen test kits and PCR testing.

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“The number of patients admitted due to Omicron subvariant infections was higher than the number of admissions caused by seasonal pulmonary diseases, such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.”

Dr Manoon’s analysis is consistent with a report released by the WHO and in line with a study by the Department of Medical Sciences, which found an increasing number of infections caused by five new subvariants of the Omicron strain — including the BA, BQ and XBB sub-variants, which the WHO have declared as sub-variants under close watch — in the country this month.

Dr Manoon is urging the people of Thailand to get their annual flu shot and for others to boost their immunity with another vaccine shot. He believes another booster shot will help people recover much faster from Covid-19 should they catch it. Many of the cases that turned critical, the physician added, were among the unvaccinated.

The WHO reported that in Thailand, from January 3, 2020, to November 7, 2022, there have been 4,695,207 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 32,995 deaths. As of September 29, 2022, a total of 142,635,014 vaccine doses have been administered.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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