|The Omicron BA.5 subvariant has emerged and is starting to spread to various countries|
This new version of the Omicron variant that causes COVID-19 is thought to have a faster transmission rate than the previous Omicron subvariant. There are two new versions of the Omicron subvariant, namely BA.4 and BA.5. Based on preliminary data, the mutation of the Corona virus in this subvariant makes the virus more easily transmitted and is able to fight the body's immunity better, making it easier for someone to become infected. The Omicron BA.5 subvariant was first identified in South Africa in early 2022 and has become the dominant variant there.
Preliminary reports indicate that most patients infected with this subvariance experience mild COVID-19 symptoms and are similar to symptoms of the previous variant infection, such as fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and nasal congestion. Globally, the number of cases of COVID-19 infected with the Omicron BA.5 subvariant is still low. However, since its inception, this Omicron subvariant has been detected in at least 46 countries. The spike in infections so far is still not as high as in the previous Omicron variant of COVID-19 cases. However, the presence of the Omicron BA.5 subvariant still has the potential to cause an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Researchers are still investigating the characteristics of the Omicron BA.5 subvariance, including the degree of virus transmission and the severity of the disease it causes. The following is some initial data on cases of infection with the Omicron BA.5 subvariant that was collected regarding the severity of the disease and the ability of the COVID-19 vaccine:
• Omicron BA.5 subvariant infection is able to fight immune cells from people who are not vaccinated but have been infected with the Omicron variant Corona virus.
• Booster vaccination can provide adequate protection against the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, but to a lesser extent than the previous Omicron subvariants.
• COVID-19 vaccines specifically designed to provide protection against various Omicron subvariants, including BA.4 and BA.5, are still being developed.
• So far, it can be concluded that there has been no significant change in disease severity when compared to the previous Omicron subvariance.
It should be noted that when the Omicron variant of COVID-19 cases first appeared, generally the symptoms were mild, but transmission was faster than the Delta variant. Even so, the actual severity of the disease can be influenced by many things, including age, vaccination history, history of previous infections, history of chronic illness, and overall health condition. Currently, the administration of a complete dose of COVID-19 vaccine and a booster dose is still considered very effective in reducing the number of patients with severe symptoms who require hospitalization due to the surge in cases of infection with the Omicron variant.
Some antiviral drugs are also still effective in fighting and preventing severe COVID-19 illness, especially for people who are at risk of experiencing severe symptoms from COVID-19. In addition to vaccination, the best way to protect yourself from infection with the Omicron BA.5 subvariant is to implement health protocols, namely keeping a distance from other people, wearing masks, washing hands regularly, avoiding crowds, and covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is a variant that needs to be watched out for according to WHO. Therefore, if you experience symptoms of COVID-19, immediately consult a doctor to get the right treatment and minimize transmission of Omicron BA.5 subvariant infection.