from ODIRILE TOTENG in Gaborone, Botswana
GABORONE, (CAJ News) – THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for calm amid the detection of new sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Researchers in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa have detected the sub-lineages and are carrying out further investigations to fully comprehend traits such as infectivity and virulence.
WHO experts are working with scientists and researchers in the two countries to deepen analysis of these BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3 sub-lineages.
These have so far been identified in four people in Botswana and 23 in South Africa.
Outside Africa, the BA.4 and BA.5 have been confirmed in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK).
“There is no cause for alarm with the emergence of the new sub-variants,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
She noted the organisation was not observing a major spike in cases, hospitalizations or deaths.
“We are working with scientists in Botswana and South Africa to gain complete behavioural knowledge of these sub-lineages and supporting African countries enhance genomic surveillance to detect potentially dangerous variants and stay ahead of the virus,” Dr. Moeti said.
WHO calls on countries to enhance genomic surveillance to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
South African scientists detected the Omicron variant in November 2021.
There was panic as several countries announced travel bans from Southern Africa.
– CAJ News