COVID-19 News: Variant Hunters Say That the BA.5 Sub-lineages Are Receding, Being Replaced By BA.2 Sub-lineages And Various Recombinants. We Say No!
Many variant hunters and virologist are claiming that in a matter of weeks, the various BA.5 sub-lineages such as the BEs, BFs, BQs, BWs, DFs, DJs and BA.51.s and BA.5.2s will be obsolete and that the BA.2 sub-lineages such as CH.1.1, BRs and BNs along with their newer emerging sub-lineages and also the various recombinant variants such as the XBBs, XBFs, XBJs etc along with some of the newer sub-lineages such as XBB.1.9.1 etc will be dominating the various SARS-CoV-2 clusters causing onslaughts in various geolocations across the world.
We at Thailand Medical News
however disagree and instead predict that newer more pathogenic, immune evasive and transmissible BA.5 sub-lineages will emerge that will not only lead a more worrisome onslaught involving reinfections and breakthrough infections but will also display immune imprinting more distinctly for those who were previously infected or inoculated!
The BA.5 sub-lineages are still active in East Asia and even elsewhere as we have covered in our various COVID-19 News
coverages and while a recent misleading Chinese study is claiming that no new variant has emerged in China (note the sample size was so small and focussed on one location in China only!), a variety of new sub-lineages spotting new mutations have emerged including the BF.71.4, BF.7.14, BF.7.15, BA.5.2.48, BA.5.2.49, BA.5.2.50, DY.1 etc.
While many virologists and variant hunters are basing their opinions based on the sequencing data being uploaded in platforms such as GISAID, it should be noted that many countries are not conducting extensive sequencing and in fact, sequencing samples being uploaded have drastically dropped not to mention that here are many countries who are not even conducting any genomic sequencing at all!
Also interesting is the fact that many of the recent BA.5 sub-lineages are either evolving fast and spawning more worrisome off springs or they are now recombining with some of the BA.2.75 sub-lineages and might even recombine eventually with some of the recombinant variants and their sub-lineages.
To highlight some of the evolutionary trends of the BA.5 sub-lineages:
-a new BA.5 sub-lineage has emerged which has been named as DT.2 and it is basically a BQ.1.1.32 sub-lineage with a spike mutation T547K.
The spike T547K mutation was last seen on the BA.1 variant and is involved with generating enhanced fusogenicity which drives disease severity and hospitalization!
-a new BA.5.2 sub-lineage with spike mutations K444N, N460K and the mutations ORF6:Y31C, ORF1a:A776V, ORF1a:T1794I has emerged and is now slowly starting wreak havoc in parts of Canada.
Based on sequence sources, there is a highly possibility that this new BA.5 sub-lineage is more pathogenic as most samples were from hospitalized individuals!
-The various BQs sub-lineages of the BA.5 variant are still evolving and spewing out newer sub-lineages:
-A BA.5.2.6 subvariant is also spawning newer sub-lineages with spike mutation: P812R and a N mutation NSP3:P141S
The P812R mutation is of concern to scientists as it has been seen last in various pathogenic Avian coronavirus strains!
-Various BQ sub-lineages from the BA.5 variant are engaging in recombinant events involving BA.2 variants:
Other recent examples highlighting the BA.5 sub-lineages aggressive evolutionary traits include the following:
We believe that the cluster onsluaghts with teh various recombinat variants and their sub-lineages such as the XBBs and also the newer CH.1.1 and BN sublineage will be shortlived without much impact in terms of hospitalization or death rates.
The BA.5 sub-lineages however will be back with a greater vengeance and will cause more catastrophic onslaughts which we will see by May 2023 or early June 2023 or maybe earlier!
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