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The new omikron variant is becoming more and more popular in Sweden

The new omikron variant is becoming more and more popular in Sweden

It’s been just over four months since the variant was first discovered in South Africa. Since then, it has spread all over the world.

The first Swedish cases were found at the beginning of May, and since then things have gone fast. Last week, BA.5 accounted for 17.3 percent of all fully serialized cases, according to the Swedish Public Health Agency. Raw stats. A week later, the share had risen to 31.8 percent.

Rapid increases have previously been observed in several countries in Europe, including Germany and the United Kingdom. The variant became dominant early in Portugal and more recently in Denmark.

Weak vaccine protection

It is hypothesized that the fact that BA.5 spreads so rapidly and replaces the older omicron variants BA.1 and BA.2 is due to the fact that it contains mutations which means that the virus cannot be easily controlled using antibodies from vaccines or previous ones. infections. This also applies to the BA.4 variant, which is also somewhat prevalent in Sweden.

According to the post study The antibody response in newly vaccinated individuals is much weaker against all omicron variants than in the original SARS-Cov2 virus – and within the omicron family, only one antibody response is one-third as strong as in BA.4 and BA.5 as in BA. .1 and BA.2.

“Our data indicate that new omicron variants are likely to lead to increased infection in populations with high vaccination rates and high levels of innate immunity to BA.1 and BA.2,” one of the researchers, Dan Baruch, wrote in an email to CNN.

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The prevalence of infection is increasing in Sweden

In Sweden, the number of confirmed cases rose in June after declining for several months before that. last week pointeds an increase of 37% compared to the previous week. Among people receiving home care, the increase was 41 percent.

The new omicron variants so far seem to give the same symptoms as BA.1 and BA.2, i.e. milder than the original virus.

An as yet unpublished study from South Africa reports an equally high risk of hospitalization but a somewhat lower mortality rate, the journal writes. temper nature.

On the other hand, Japanese researchers concluded that BA.4 and BA.5 may have evolved into a worse variant that easily infects lung cells, similar to variants that were prevalent before omicron, he writes. Watchman.