According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an omicron subvariant that has been the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States for more than a month is starting to wane, and another variant of ‘omicron is rapidly gaining momentum.
These estimates indicate that the omicron lineage BA.2.12.1 continues to be the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States and is responsible for approximately 56% of cases.
That number continues to drop, however, as another strain, the BA.5 subvariant, continues to surge, accounting for around 23.5% of cases over the past week.
These increases paint a troubling picture, as recent studies have suggested that prior coronavirus infections and COVID-19 vaccinations are less effective in preventing infection against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, studies have shown that “neutralizing antibody levels” created by infection or previous vaccinations in the body are less effective against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, but offer always “substantial protection” against serious illnesses.
The research may indicate that BA.4 and BA.5 could cause increased infections in all populations, including those who have been vaccinated and boosted, but also indicates that these vaccinations will still help guard against serious disease.
European officials say the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are likely to become the dominant strains of the virus in the coming weeks, and these sublines are already the dominant strains in South Africa, researchers told CNN .