19% Jump In Cases Of Omicron Subvariant

Dr Supakit Sirilak
Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences

The Department of Medical Sciences has found an increase of nearly 20% of the Omicron BA.2 subvariant in the kingdom.

Dr Supakit Sirilak, the department chief, said they conducted an initial test for Omicron lineages from 567 cases collected countrywide.

It found that 18.5% of Omicron cases are BA.2 while 81.5% are BA.1, which is considered the original Omicron variant.

“We have seen an increasing number of subvariant BA.2 cases and further monitoring is needed,” Dr Sirilak said.

He said that 96.2% of infected COVID-19 cases in the country are the Omicron variant. These are mainly the subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 while there have been a few cases of BA.3 and BA.1.1, he noted.

Dr Sirilak said more samples need to be taken to further understand how the Omicron subvariants spread in Thailand.

It is a high possibility that the subvariant BA.2 will replace BA.1 shortly, as per the situation in several other countries such as India, Denmark, Sweden, where BA.2 appears to now be the main lineage, he said.

Based on studies, BA.2 is more transmissible and better at escaping immunity than BA.1, said Dr Sirilak.

However, there is no clear evidence that indicates if BA.2 is any more severe than BA.1 in how it affects those who are infected with it.

The department is working closely with its partners in monitoring COVID-19 patients with subvariant BA.2 to see if they develop more severe conditions when compared with the original Omicron BA.1 variant.

Dr Sirilak said that a COVID-19 vaccine booster works against the subvariant.

Yesterday, the country recorded 14,373 new COVID-19 cases. Among those were 131 cases among prison inmates and 196 imported cases, comprising 85 cases from Russia, 13 from Myanmar, 12 from Germany and nine from Kazakhstan.

There were 27 fatalities attributed to COVID-19 yesterday.

Bangkok still had the most number of new cases at 3,180. This was followed by 887 in Samut Prakan, 548 in Chon Buri, 512 in Nonthaburi, 469 in Phuket, 429 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, 354 in Nakhon Ratchasima, 345 in Nakhon Pathom, 337 in Samut Sakhon and 317 in Chiang Mai.