Why mutation of BA.5 lineages is a matter of concern? WHO highlights

Updated on Aug 12, 2022 06:13 PM IST

Global Covid cases: Japan has been witnessing a worrying surge in Covid cases in recent times.

An illustration of the novel coronavirus seen next to a health care worker at a Covid-19 testing centre in New Delhi on October 28. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)
An illustration of the novel coronavirus seen next to a health care worker at a Covid-19 testing centre in New Delhi on October 28. (Sanchit Khanna / HT Photo)

About 99 per cent of the coronavirus sequences reported globally in a month - between July 8 and August 8 - were linked to the Omicron variant, the World Health Organization has said in its latest weekly bulletin, highlighting that “BA.5 descendent lineages” are increasing in diversity. While the prevalence of other variants - BA.4, BA.2, BA.2.12.1 - has reduced significantly, additional mutations - linked to BA.5 descendent lineages - have been seen in “spike and non-spike regions”.

The world health body has said it has been tracking an increase in prevalence and change in vital characteristics of the lineages.

Amid emphasis over the booster shots, the world reported over 6.9 million cases in the August 1-August 7 week, the WHO has said, underlining that while Japan topped the list of the nations with highest cases with 1,496,968 fresh infections, the United States reported the highest number of deaths (2,764 ).

Other countries recording the highest number of cases were the US (759 806) followed by the Republic of Korea, Vietnam and Turkey. On the list of the countries recording the highest number of deaths after the US are: Brazil (1445 new deaths; -21%), Italy

(1059 new deaths; -12%), Japan (1002 new deaths; +53%), and Spain (654 new deaths; +23%), the latest weekly bulletin underlines.

In Europe, while Turkey recorded the highest number of cases, seven countries - that is 11 per cent of the region - saw a surge of 20 per cent or greater in the last week "with the highest proportional increases observed in the Republic of Moldova (9528 vs 5793 new cases; +64%), the Russian Federation (110 980 vs 69 464 new cases; +60%), and Andorra (285 vs 182 new cases; +57%)," the bulletin highlights.

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