Bulgaria’s National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) said on November 4 that it has has found the Omicron coronavirus strain in each of the 166 samples taken from Covid-19 patients in the country.
NCIPD said that the samples, taken over a period of time ranging from September 19 to October 21 in 18 out of Bulgaria’s 28 districts, showed that the BA.5 lineage of the Omicron strain and its subvariants remained dominant in the country.
The BA.5 lineage and its subvariants, which NCIPD collectively referred to as BA.5.x, is the main driver of the most recent coronavirus wave globally. Initially detected in South Africa in January 2022, BA.5 is categorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a variant of concern lineage under monitoring.
The WHO defines a variant of concern lineage under monitoring as a subvariant that shows sign of “transmission advantage” to other lineages and has “additional amino acid changes that are known or suspected to confer the observed change in epidemiology and fitness advantage as compared to other circulating variants.”
BA.5.x was found in 132 cases or 79.5 per cent of the total sample size, compared to 70.9 per cent of the samples in the previous batch sequenced by NCIPD and announced on October 25.
The remaining samples showed evidence of several other lineages of the Omicron strain – 33 cases of the BE.x and BF.x lineages, which NCIPD described as a subvariant of BA.5, as well as one case of the BQ.1 lineage.
As of October 10-November 1, 10 patients in the NCIPD sample group had died, 11 were in hospital, 14 were undergoing home treatment and 131 had recovered.
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