Bulgaria’s National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) said on January 6 that it has found the Omicron coronavirus strain in each of the 74 samples taken from Covid-19 patients in the country.
NCIPD said that the samples, taken over a period of time ranging from November 21 to December 14 in 16 out of Bulgaria’s 28 districts, showed a wide distribution of Omicron descendent lineages, with BA.5 no longer the dominant one.
The BA.5 lineage and its subvariants, which NCIPD collectively referred to as BA.5.x, was the main driver of the global coronavirus wave in the second half of 2022. 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 24 cases or 32.4 per cent of the total samples, compared to 52.3 per cent of the samples in the previous batch sequenced by NCIPD and announced on December 19.
The remaining samples showed evidence of several other lineages of the Omicron strain – 24 cases of the BF.x lineage, 15 cases of the BQ.x lineage, four cases of the BN.x lineage, two cases each of the BE.1.1, CL.1 and XBB.1 subvariants, as well as one case of BA.2, one of the early subvariants of the Omicron strain.
As of December 20, six patients in the NCIPD sample group had died, three were in hospital and eight were undergoing home treatment, with 57 recovered.
(Photo: Military Medical Academy)
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