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Covid-19 Australia: New wave of infections coming as ‘sticky’ Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 arrive

New wave of Covid infections is coming as ‘sticky’ Omicron variant arrives in Australia – and medics are waiting to see if it’s as deadly as Delta

  • Covid surveillance report predicts BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron strains to dominate
  •  Experts assessing whether the BA.5 strain will impact the lungs as Delta did
  • The NSW report says the strains will be associated with a rise in infections 

Scientists are closely monitoring one of the dominant new strains of Covid-19 for signs it could attack the lungs in the same way the deadly Delta strain did.

A medical surveillance report into changes in the evolving Covid picture says BA.4 and BA.5 will dominate in coming weeks and will be the cause of rising infections.

Recently the BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron strain has dominated genomic testing but BA.4 and BA.5 appear to be taking over.

Scientists are closely monitoring one of the dominant new strains of Covid-19 for signs it could attack the lungs as the deadly Delta strain did

A Sydney virologist said BA.5 in particular is 'stickier' than its previous Omicron sub-variants and was showing signs of behaving like pre-Omicron strains, in showing 'a liking' for lung tissue

A Sydney virologist said BA.5 in particular is ‘stickier’ than its previous Omicron sub-variants and was showing signs of behaving like pre-Omicron strains, in showing ‘a liking’ for lung tissue

‘It is expected that BA.4 and BA.5 will become the dominant strain and will likely be associated with an increase in infections in the coming weeks,’ said the June 11 NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report.

A Sydney virologist said BA.5 in particular is ‘stickier’ than its previous Omicron sub-variants and was showing signs of behaving like pre-Omicron strains.

‘The thing we’re keeping an eye on with BA.5 is that it’s starting to like tissue that pre-Omicron variants like … it likes proteins on the lung,’ Professor Stuart Turville told the ABC.

Professor Turville, of University of NSW’s Kirby Institute, said the big question is whether BA.5 is going to impact human lungs as Delta did or whether it is just ‘a shift’ from BA.2.

It is also understood the new sub-variants may be more effective than those before an re-infecting people and evading the protecting of vaccination.  

But the NSW Covid report said there was so far nothing to prove that BA.4 or BA.5 was deadlier than predecessors.

‘There is no evidence of a difference in disease severity but this is being closely monitored,’ the report stated.

‘The timing of any increase in COVID-19 infections as a result of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages will depend on a combination of factors, including the growth advantage, immunity levels in the population, and environmental and behavioural factors (e.g. social mixing, isolation when unwell).’

The most recent NSW Covid report said there was nothing to prove so far that BA.4 or BA.5 was deadlier than predecessors

The most recent NSW Covid report said there was nothing to prove so far that BA.4 or BA.5 was deadlier than predecessors

Numbers from the NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for June 11 appeared to show Covid-19 remains disproportionately dangerous to the elderly.

Of the 80 deaths analysed in the report, 73 were aged 70 or over.

Since March 2020, Australia has seen 7.75 million Covid-19 cases with 9,269 people dying.

Although NSW has seen more cases than any other state – 2.7 million, Victoria has the largest number of deaths, 3,702.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk