The omicron subvariant of COVID-19, BA.5 is now the dominant strain sweeping rapidly around the United States and causing an uptick in cases.
As a result, many areas are reimplementing mask mandates and safety guidelines in an effort to help prevent spreading the virus. To date, BA.5 is the most contagious mutation of COVID and it does evade immunity so staying healthy and trying to avoid the virus is vital.
The symptoms can range from mild to severe and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies who shares signs that indicate you have BA.5 and what to know about the latest dominant strain. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
What Should People Know About BA.5?
Dr. Mitchell says, “As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists are working hard to learn more about the virus and develop effective treatments. One area of focus is the role of BA.5, a protein on the surface of the virus. BA.5 plays a key role in infecting human cells and causing disease. As a result, understanding BA.5 is critical to developing effective treatments for the virus. Researchers are still working to learn more about this protein and its role in the disease process. However, this information is already helping to inform the development of new therapies that could save countless lives.”
Why BA. 5 is Contagious
Dr. Mitchell explains, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of COVID-19 are once again surging in the United States. The BA.5 omicron variant is fueling this latest wave of infections, which is causing increases in hospitalizations and ICU admissions. This variant is believed to be more contagious than other variants of the virus and thought to be responsible for the current surge in cases. The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible, as this is the best way to protect yourself from the virus. In addition, people should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent the disease’s spread to prevent the disease’s spread.”
How BA.5 Compares to Other Variants
“The BA.5 variant of the coronavirus was first identified in January 2021 and has been tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO) since April,” says Dr. Mitchell. It is a sister variant of the Omicron strain that has been dominant worldwide since the end of 2020, and has already caused spikes in case rates – even with reduced testing – in countries including South Africa, where it was first found, as well as the United Kingdom, parts of Europe, and Australia.
The primary difference between BA.5 and other coronavirus variants is a mutation in the spike protein, which is what allows the virus to attach to and infect human cells. This particular mutation makes BA.5 more contagious than other strains, and it is also believed to be more resistant to some of the existing vaccines.
As a result, health officials are urging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, even if they have already received one or two doses of a vaccine from a different manufacturer. With BA.5 now circulating widely, it is more important than ever to take measures to protect oneself and others from the virus. These include wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and frequently washing one’s hands.
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