PUBLIC Health Ministry officials said today (Feb. 15) that infection by Omicron’s sub-lineage BA.2 is now increasing in many countries and it will likely turn into the main sub-variant in Thailand in one to two months’ time, TV Channel 7 said.
However Dr. Supakit Sirilak, head of the Department of Medical Sciences, said while BA.2 is spreading faster the severity of infection is no different from other Omicron sub-variants and a booster jab can prevent serious illness and symptoms.
Of 2,000 random samples tested last week 97.2 percent was Omicron with the remaining 2.8 percent being Delta and other variants.
Tests of random samples collected from Nov. 1, 2021 to Feb. 11, 2022 showed 18,028 were Omicron, 11,373 Delta and 4 Beta.
Regarding Omicron Bangkok had the highest tally of 6,641 cases followed by Phuket with 1,286, Chonburi 1,240, Roi Et 670, Samut Prakan 590, Nong Khai 534, Surat Thani 511, Maha Sarakham 508, Kalasin 419 and Khon Kaen 410.
Dr. Supakit added that global reports showed approximately 600,000 people are infected with the first-generation sub-lineage BA.1, 54,000 BA. 2 and only 297 BA. 3.
In Thailand BA. 2 was first detected among travellers coming into the country early this year with second generation sub-lineage BA 1.1 also detected among them.
BA. 1 and BA. 2 have 32 identical mutations but 28 differences with BA. 2 having now spread to 57 countries after first emerging in India, Denmark and Sweden.
Dr. Throne Upaphong, deputy director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said post-vaccination tests for BA.1 and BA.2 will be expedited to measure the effectiveness of vaccines against mutant strains as well as follow up on the symptoms of those infected with pneumonia and require oxygen.
The ministry earlier said that there were 14,373 Covid cases and 27 deaths over the 24 hours to this morning taking the cumulative confirmed total since Jan. 1 to 399,165.
Of this batch of cases 14,177 were domestic while 196 foreign travellers tested positive.
Another 11,551 patients were cured taking recoveries since Jan. 1 to 298,889 with 129,933 still undergoing treatment.
Top: A masked woman walks past a mural of medical workers wearing face masks in Merida, Mexico, in January. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images and published by Vox.com
Home Page: Dr Supakit Sirilak. Photo: Naewna