The UK classified the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 as variants of concern. Analysis of the data available so far indicates a growth advantage over the still predominant omicron subvariant BA.2, the British health authority announced on Friday. So far, however, the number of cases in Britain has been very manageable – there are 115 confirmed or suspected cases of BA.4 and 80 cases of BA.5.
In Austria, the new Covid-19 subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 were detected for the first time at the beginning of the month. The City of Vienna reported the first cases of the BA.4 variant and one case of the BA.5 variant to the Ministry of Health, and individual cases were also identified in Styria and Salzburg at this time. In its update at the time, the Covid Prognosis Consortium reported on the likely growth advantage, citing international observation data.
The proportion of the omicron subvariant BA.5 is also growing in Germany, but so far at a very low level. It was 1.4 percent according to the latest available data, a sample from the week before last. In previous weeks, it was up 0.5 and 0.3 percent, according to the Robert Koch Institute’s (RKI) weekly Corona report on Thursday. So far, only a small increase can be seen in BA.4 in Germany, from 0.1 to 0.3 percent.
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the omicron subvariants BA.1 to BA.5 and the derived and mixed variants of the pathogen to be of concern. The first subspecies of omicron caused massive waves of infection in winter.