Omicron subvariants increase in South Africa, positivity rate jumps

Two Omicron subvariants are rising rapidly in South Africa. They have increased in bulk from 16% to 44%, according to the latest sequencing data released by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases on Monday.

The positivity rate in South Africa (the percentage of cases testing positive) jumped from 16% over the weekend to 19.3 percent on Monday; this report came from the latest statistic released by the NICD, with another 1,954 people testing positive for the virus.


According to the Sinehlanhla Jimoh from the NICD that 10,144 people tested for the virus on Monday.

There was a new data published on Monday that analyses the results of sequencing tests in order to identify the variant of the SARS-CoV virus in samples where many people tested positive for infection, collected up to April 22.

According to this report, the basic version of Omicron – BA.1 – dominated the January data (55%), and BA.2 was defeated in February, March and April. Still, two additional sublineages of the Omicron variant (BA.4 and BA.5) increased in prevalence during March (16%) and appeared to be increasing in April (44%), although additional sequencing data is needed for this period.

Another sublineage, BA.3, persists to be noticed but only at low levels.

BA.4 and BA.5 have been selected sub-variants of interest by the World Health Organization (WHO), with no proof yet of increased severity of symptoms or immune escape. In the latest sequencing report, scientists said. At the same time, the mutations on these two sub-variants are not defined; they may be linked to an increased ability to escape the body’s immunity against SARS-CoV-2.

The authors of the report showed that they are also watching data for recombinants. A recombinant of the Omicron and Delta variants was first recognised and then specified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization in January 2022.

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