Report shows how the subvariants of omicron BA.4 and BA.5 (the most contagious) have spread throughout Guatemala

During the last week of July, the National Health Laboratory (LNS) detected that the subvariants of omicron BA.4 and BA.5 predominate in Guatemala. The first represented 88.89 percent of the samples analyzed that week, while the second 11.1 percent.

These sublineages were first detected in January and February 2022 in South Africa and have caused concern as they have a high ability to evade immune protection that is obtained by a previous infection or by vaccination.

In its preliminary studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that omicron mutations should be studied in depth, since they could have the capacity to achieve a immune escape.

Thus, two subvariants of Ómicron predominate in the sequenced samples. (Free Press Photo: LNS Report)

For this reason, the public health community has recommended that the population maintain biosecurity measures and not let their guard down. Likewise, they have requested the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS) to advance in vaccination schemes, since Guatemala is one of the countries in the Americas with the greatest lags.

“There are people who are reinfected a month or two after contracting this disease with omicron. You have to be careful, wear a mask and constantly wash your hands. Do not go to crowded events and continue efforts to complete vaccination schedules. There is still work to be done,” said Alicia Chang, president of the Guatemalan Association of Infectious Diseases.

LNS

The last LNS report, which covers the weeks of July 19 to 31, considered 94 samples to carry out a sequencing process.

The results have varied since the week of May 15, when the predominant subvariants were BA.2, BA.2.12.1 and BA.4. Now, in the aforementioned period, the BA.5 sublineage represents 60.5 percent; BA.2.12.1, 22.3 percent; BA.4, 12.8 percent and BA.2, 4.2 percent.

“The BA.5 lineage has displaced the other sublineages, this being the currently predominant sublineage,” reported the LNS.

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