In recent research around coronavirus variants, Tulio de Oliveira, a professor who operates gene-sequencing establishments in South Africa has stated that the SA scientists have discovered two new sublineages of the new coronavirus variant Omicron, labelled as BA.4 and BA.5
The lineages have, however, not caused a rise in infections in South Africa and have also been found in samples from some other countries.
Prof Oliveira mentioned that owing to the low infections, deaths, and hospitalizations in South Africa, the country is not highly concerned and is alerted about the constant evaluation of the virus.
Moreover, the overall laboratory science on virus vaccines and neutralization is underway, and the scientists are solidifying genomic surveillance, Prof added.
Apparently, Botswana and South Africa were the first to discover Omicron last year in November, and South Africa was the first country to be hit by a wave of infections caused due to the variant.
The hospital admissions and fatalities were caused by the most hazardous Delta variant even when the daily reported cases hit a record in December.
Prof de Oliveira cited in one of his tweets that the sublineages had been found in samples from Botswana, Denmark, Britain, Belgium, and Germany.
He said that both the lineages possess the same mutations on the spike proteins, the part of the virus that supports it to attach to human cells, to the BA.2 sublineage, which seems to be more transmittable than the original strain of Omicron.
They also have some additional mutations, he said further.
Both the sublineages vary according to amino acid mutations apart from the spike protein.
Additionally, Botswana has also issued statements regarding the discovery of new variants.
Moreover, on April 11, South Africa reported 553 new cases of COVID-19, with 5% of the tests coming back positive.
Source Credit - https://www.straitstimes.com/world/two-new-omicron-sublineages-discovered-by-south-african-scientists