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Omicron BA.5 Subvariant identified in Belize

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2022. 1:02 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: One of 40 samples that recently underwent genomic sequencing is confirmed to be the Omicron BA.5 subvariant of the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, the Ministry of Health & Wellness has confirmed.

The remaining samples, dated between June 1 to 28, were all Omicron variant, BA.2 subvariant, suggesting previous variants have been pushed aside for the moment.

According to the Ministry, the BA.4 and BA.5 are the predominant subvariants circulating in the United States and globally at this time. Persons with these subvariants are presenting varying degrees of symptoms, ranging from runny nose, sore throat, headache, tiredness, cough, body aches to fever.

Some research has shown that the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants may evade the protection of “neutralizing antibodies” from previous infection and vaccination by three to four times more than prior variants and subvariants.

There still remains significant evidence that vaccines protect against severe disease and death from COVID-19.

The public is reminded to continue to protect the vulnerable population such as the elderly, pregnant women and persons with underlying medical conditions.

The Ministry of Health & Wellness recommends getting vaccinated if you have not done so. Continue to utilize a well-fitted face mask, especially in crowded indoor areas, and practice regular hand washing and sanitization.

Belize has had more than 65 thousand cases of COVID-19 of all variants since the arrival of the pandemic in March of 2020 with 680 deaths.


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