Covid: In the face of Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 variants, South Africa, hit by a 5th wave, can “guide” the world

South Africa is hit by a fifth wave of Covid due to new variants BA.4 and BA.5. The current management of the epidemic could “guide” the world, and these variants are spreading to other countries as was the case for Omicron, according to an epidemiologist.

Sandbox of Covid-19 and its variants, South Africa is a real school case for researchers around the world on the evolution of the epidemic. Once again the country is preparing to face a new wave, the fifth, carried by new sub-variants of Omicron, explains this Tuesday, May 10, Le Parisien.

In a few weeks, l’Afrique du Sud saw its name new contaminants climb, certainly at lower levels than during its 4th wave at the end of 2021, but very quickly. What to inaugurate “clear signs of a fifth wave in South Africa,” said epidemiologist Tulio de Oliveira.

He had, in November, been the first to detect with his teams the Omicron care variant that shook the whole earth and that today still paralyzes millions of Chinese people under the blow of health restrictions.

So history repeats itself at regular intervals. About every six months, Covid floods the country, which often serves as a global indicator of the virus’s behavior and evolution.

Place à BA.4 and BA.5

As reported by Le Parisien, South Africa is currently facing new sub-variants of Omicron. We already knew BA.1 and BA.2 it is now the turn of BA.4 and BA.5 to be under the close supervision of scientists. If these “small” d’Omicron do not present for any reason of comparison the source of origin or the Delta in terms of danger, they are on the other hand much more transmissible than BA.2, majority at the moment in France, of approx. + 20%.

“Don’t let a new variant be needed to cause a new wave, Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are very different from BA.1, as the other variants were les uns des autres,” says Tulio of Oliveira. Insisting on this point, the latter evokes the peculiarities of these two lineages of Omicron.

Summary BA.4 and BA.5 in South Africa
– 100% of infections
– Wave supply 5
– Low testing and high positivity ratio
– Increase in the number of hospitalizations, however much smaller than in previous waves
– SA can guide the world on the future of the pandemic

– Tulio de Oliveira (@Tuliodna) May 8, 2022

Probability of reinfection

According to the epidemiologist, these two variants present a strong ratio of positivity, a date that measures the percentage of positive cases relative to the number of tests performed. Thanks to a mutation in their protein Spikethe one that allows the virus to cling to our body, these variants are both more communicable et more prone to escape immunity.

Another point under surveillance regarding BA.4 and 5, their ability to reinfecter several times a person who has been infected with BA.1. A study published on May 1, and cited by our colleagues, suggests that unvaccinated people could be even more affected by the risk of reinfection.

With these first elements, Tulio de Oliveira estimates that South Africa will “guide“the rest of the world in the face of these new variants. If at the moment they are little present in France, the current hegemony of BA.4 and BA.5 in” the rainbow nation “will allow to stabilească new rules and a more flexible approach to the Covid epidemic which, with each occurrence of a less dangerous but more transmissible variant, is increasingly being treated as a seasonal flu or alt virus.

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