Bulgaria’s National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) said on November 24 that it has found the Omicron coronavirus strain in each of the 89 samples taken from Covid-19 patients in the country.
NCIPD said that the samples, taken over a period of time ranging from October 10 to November 7 in 13 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 64 cases or 71.9 per cent of the total samples, compared to 79.5 per cent of the samples in the previous batch sequenced by NCIPD and announced on November 4.
The remaining samples showed evidence of several other lineages of the Omicron strain – four cases of the BE.x lineage, 17 cases of the BF.x lineage, as well as one case each of the BQ.1, BQ.1.4, BN.1.3.1 and CK.2.1.1 lineages.
As of November 14, 10 patients in the NCIPD sample group had died, five were in hospital, two were undergoing home treatment and 72 had recovered.
(Photo: Military Medical Academy)
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