Monday, 15 April, 2024
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COVID sub-variant spreads and new symptoms emerge

An immunologist has warned the new strain of COVID-19, Omicron BA.5, could be causing different symptoms – including one that emerges during the night.

The highly-contagious strain is causing concern as it contributes to a fresh wave of infections around the world, reports The Independent.

Scientists have been finding differences from previous strains, including the ability to re-infect people within weeks of having COVID.

A leading immunologist has now suggested it could be causing a new symptom. “One extra symptom from BA.5 I saw this morning is night sweats,” said Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin.

BA.5 is driving a surge in case numbers worldwide, including across Europe and in Australia. It also became the dominant variant in the US last week.

“The disease is slightly different because the virus has changed,” O’Neill said. “There is some immunity to it, obviously with the T-cells and so on, and that mix of your immune system and the virus being slightly different might give rise to a slightly different disease, with night sweats being a feature.

“But very importantly, if you are vaccinated and boosted, it doesn’t progress into severe disease is the message to keep reminding people.”

BA.5 was first discovered in South Africa in February, one month after BA.4 was identified in the same country. Both have since spread around the world and sparked concern over a resurgence of infections.

COVID cases in the UK have risen by nearly 20%, according to new estimates, with around 2.7m people infected last week.

The increase continues to be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5, said the UK Office for National Statistics, whose latest data show that 1 in 25 people in England had COVID in the week ending 29 June.

This equates to 2.7m infections, up 18% from 2.3m in the previous week. This is the highest estimate since late April, but is still below the record high of 4.9m, at the end of March.


The Independent article – Covid warning over symptom of new strain that affects sufferers at night (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Moderna/Pfizer update two vaccines against newer variants


European warning that two strains of Omicron from SA are ‘variants of concern’


Unjabbed patients face variants risk; obesity weakens vaccine protection – Recent studies


NICD statistics: COVID cases rise as two Omicron sub-lineages spread across SA





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