World Health Org continues to track new variants of Omicron in Europe, Africa

Mutations are not known at this time to be more dangerous or infectious.

Updated: April 16, 2022 - 2:34pm

Global health officials are continuing to track two new sub-variants of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 throughout the world, though experts are cautioning that the mutations do not appear to be deadlier or more easily spread at this time.

World Health Organization COVID lead investigator Maria Van Kerkhove said in a virtual press conference that the strains BA.4 and BA.5 were being found in countries ranging from Botswana to Germany. 

The mortality and transmission rates of the virus do not appear to be elevated from that of the original Omicron strain, she also said. 

“What we have to make sure is that we continue to have the ability to track, the ability to share and the ability to analyze so that we can answer questions like this,” she also. 

Other sub-variants of Omicron have already advanced throughout the world. The BA.2 sub-variant is reportedly the dominant strain in North America, in some regions registering over 90% of confirmed cases. 

COVID cases in the United States have fallen sharply since their sky-high peaks at the beginning of the year, though in recent days they have begun to show signs of climbing again.