Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert
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Covid infection rates have been spiralling in the run-up to winter, with hospitals preparing for the worst. BA.5 is thought to be behind the current surge in cases. The latest Omicron variant has been shown to override some of the protection conferred from vaccination. The persistence of Covid symptoms in the fully vaccinated points to this advantage.
According to the Zoe Health Study, which monitors the movements of the pandemic via user submissions to its app, pharyngitis, also known as a sore throat, is the top symptom currently reported in the fully vaccinated.
A sore throat is now seen in 63 percent of all symptomatic cases, the Zoe data shows.
Other symptoms appearing in the double jabbed include:
- Runny nose
- Blocked nose
- Persistent cough
The previous “traditional” symptoms as still outlined on the government website, such as anosmia (loss of smell), shortness of breath and fever rank way down the list.
Fever barely registers on the map so is not worth screening for in workplaces, said Professor Tim Spector, who heads up the Zoe Health Study.
“There are a few reasons why symptoms may be changing, including the fact that those who have been vaccinated experience less severe symptoms, as well as more cases being reported by younger people, who we have found experience different, less severe symptoms as well,” notes the Zoe team.
It’s worth pointing out that similar symptoms of COVID-19 are being reported overall in the Zoe app by people who had and hadn’t been vaccinated.
However, fewer symptoms were reported over a shorter period of time by those who had already had a jab, suggesting that they were falling less seriously ill and getting better more quickly.
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This is also reflected in the current numbers, which suggest the current wave of Covid is ebbing.
According to Prof Spector, there are currently 215,000 new daily cases, which is down from the peak of 239,900 on October 11.
“Rapid decline bodes well for the future,” the professor said in his latest video.
However, there are still broad swathes of the public getting infected so the UK is “not out of the woods yet”, he warned.
What’s more, emerging evidence suggests Omicron BA.5 is evading the attention of antibodies.
The warning comes out of a report published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
BA.5 shows “substantial” ability to evade immune protection compared with previous subvariants, the report says.
However, BA.4.6, a mutation of BA.4, has recently increased in prevalence in certain regions where BA.5 is dominant, including in the US, the report outlines.
See the latest Covid vaccine stats below and visit InYourArea for all the Covid vaccine latest
To stem the tide of rising cases, Britons are being urged to get their autumn booster.
People aged 50 years and older, residents in care homes for older people, those aged five years and over in a clinical risk group and health and social care staff are eligible for a booster shot this autumn.
The autumn booster is being offered to those at high risk of the complications of COVID-19 infection, who may have not been boosted for a few months.
The hope is that, as the number of COVID-19 infections increases over the winter, the booster should help to reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
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