Bulgaria’s National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) said on December 19 that it has found the Omicron coronavirus strain in each of the 65 samples taken from Covid-19 patients in the country.
NCIPD said that the samples, taken over a period of time ranging from November 1 to November 22 in 12 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 34 cases or 52.3 per cent of the total samples, compared to 71.9 per cent of the samples in the previous batch sequenced by NCIPD and announced on November 24.
The remaining samples showed evidence of several other lineages of the Omicron strain – 22 cases of the BF.x lineage, six cases of the BQ.x lineage, as well as one case each of the BE.1.1, BN.1.3.1 and CH.1.1 subvariants.
As of December 5, five patients in the NCIPD sample group had died, three were in hospital and 57 had recovered.
(Photo: Military Medical Academy)
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