WHO says new variants will emerge

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that the Covid-19 virus is still evolving and that new varieties will appear in the coming days. According to WHO’s Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, published on Tuesday, the Omicron form remains the major variation circulating globally.

The top health agency said it is still monitoring “many descendant lineages” of the coronavirus’s Omicron variety, including two new sublineages with additional alterations linked with possible “immune escape features.”


The WHO stated that it is still monitoring many descendant lineages under the Omicron Variant of Concern, including BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, and now BA.4 and BA.5. It also contains circulating recombinant BA.1/BA.2 forms like XE.

“A modest number of BA.4 and BA.5 descendant lineage sequences have now been found in a few countries.” Both have additional mutations in the Spike area (S:L452R, S:F486V) as well as distinct mutations outside of the Spike region. “The S:L452R and S:F486V mutations are linked to possible immunological escape features,” according to the World Health Organization.

It went on to say that it is collaborating with scientists to better understand the features of these lineages and their public health concerns. “The WHO advises governments to continue surveillance whenever practicable and to share data quickly on publicly available databases.”

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