Covid-19 – what are the most common symptoms of the new Omicron BA.5 subvariant?

Covid-19 - what are the most common symptoms of the new Omicron BA.5 subvariant?

The lifting of restrictions has not made coronavirus disappear. On the contrary, it exists and mutates all the time. The newest sub-variant called Omikron BA.5 is slightly different from the already known variants in terms of symptoms and period of infection. At the same time, it spreads at a rapid pace, is extremely contagious, can be resistant to previously developed vaccines and also attacks those who have already contracted coronavirus.

A subvariant or otherwise subvariant of the virus that causes COVID-19 called Omicron BA.5 was detected in February 2022 in South Africa. It effectively displaces the other previously known variants, so much so that in Poland alone, one in four coronavirus patients, or 25 percent of patients, is said to have Omikron BA.5. In the second week of July alone, 3 million new SARS-CoV-2 infections were reported in Europe, of which Omikron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants accounted for more than 50 percent.

How does the BA.5 subvariant differ from other known coronavirus mutations?

First of all, infectivity. It has the highest infectivity of all known SARS-CoV-2 variants – it is very easily transmitted from person to person – but at the same time it is passed more gently. People infected with this subvariant generally pass the infection more lightly. However, this is not a rule. Therefore, elderly people, people with chronic diseases and unvaccinated people should try to avoid infection, as in them there is still a risk of severe course and death.

Another variant attacks even vaccinated people – vaccination is less effective in preventing infection, but still protects against a severe course of the disease. Omicron BA.5 also attacks the upper respiratory tract more often than other variants, while causing pneumonia less often.

What are the symptoms of Omicron BA.5 infection?

They resemble symptoms typical of the common cold. Patients mainly complain of a feeling of a congested nose, runny nose, cough, sneezing, headache and muscle pain throughout the body. In addition, some patients experience pain and scratching in the throat, hoarseness, chills, high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and loss of smell or taste. These last two symptoms of COVID-19 occur far less frequently than with previous coronavirus variants. With Omicron BA.5, many infected additionally experience severe fatigue even after a good night’s sleep – this is often the first symptom of COVID-19 infection – neck stiffness and numbness, tinnitus, excessive sensitivity to light, and have intense night sweats.

Flu season is in full swing. Cases of co-infection of influenza and coronavirus are known. Flurona (influenza) is a serious threat to life.

It is worth taking the flu vaccine as well to minimize the likelihood of contracting both diseases at the same time.

Omicron BA.5 – duration of infection

According to studies conducted so far, it is observed that infection with the Omikron BA.5 sub-variant lasts shorter than with other coronavirus variants. In the case of the Delta variant, patients experienced symptoms for an average of about 9 days, while now symptoms occur for 4 to 6 days. At the same time, although there are repeat infections among both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, hospitalizations are not increasing and are even decreasing. Omicron in this subvariant, as already mentioned, primarily attacks the upper respiratory tract, so the need for hospital treatment is less frequent.

However, it should be mentioned that reinfections, i.e., re-infections with SARS-CoV-2 virus in the case of Omicron BA.5 are observed eight times more often than with other variants. Therefore, the danger should not be underestimated – the infection may or may not have a milder course, and people who underwent COVID-19 even a few weeks ago also become infected.

New coronavirus variant vs. children

In children, previously known mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have caused mostly asymptomatic infections. The Omicron BA.5 subvariant breaks out of this pattern. Fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, headache and fatigue are also increasingly observed in children infected with coronavirus. Nevertheless, most pass Omicron BA.5 infection more mildly than adults. Pocovid syndrome in the youngest – PIMS – remains dangerous.


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