COVID-19 subvariant BA.4.6 is the newest “variant of concern.”
It is present in at least four states that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are tracking.
This is what you need to know.
What is BA.4.6?
BA.4.6. it is a derivative of the BA.4 subvariant of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. It had been “circulating for several weeks” in the US before the CDC officially began tracking it, according to Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, White House COVID-19 data director.
Where has BA.4.6. spread?
The new subvariant has spread to the Midwestern states of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, where it accounts for 10.7% of cases in the region.
The Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic region are also seeing BA.4.6 cases increase above average.
According to the CDC, the total number of BA.4.6 cases represented 4.1% of the national average of COVID-19 cases.
The new subvariant has also been detected in 43 countries, according to outbreak.info, which compiles information on COVID-19.
Do BA.4.6 vaccines work?
At this time, experts aren’t sure if vaccines will work against this particular subvariant of COVID-19. Many new variants, such as BA.4.6, are emerging faster than new vaccines.
However, according to the CDC, all approved or licensed COVID-19 vaccines have been effective in reducing the risk of severe illness and death from earlier variants and subvariants of the virus. “In addition to clinical trial data, evidence from real-world vaccine effectiveness studies shows that COVID-19 vaccines help protect against COVID-19 infections, with or without symptoms (asymptomatic infections). ”, the CDC said.
Last Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was looking to approve enhancements targeting omicron’s BA.5 subvariant for this fall. This was a twist on his plan to increase the age of eligibility for boosters based on the original strain of COVID-19 from 2020.
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