According to the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), BA.4 and BA.5 could be on the brink of starting a new infection wave in South Africa, while BA.2.12.1 is gaining traction in the US.
All three sub-mutations of the Omicron variant have been detected in Denmark, though in a very limited form.
SSI does not expect the new sub-mutations to be able to outcompete BA.2, the Omicron variant that accounts for about 99 percent of new COVID-19 cases in Denmark.
“SSI continues to monitor the new sub-variants closely. With current data and limited knowledge about the infectiousness of the new variants, it is too soon to estimate how the infection rate will develop in South Africa and the US in the near future,” said SSI researcher, Morten Rasmussen.
By the numbers
According to the Danish data, there is so far no indication that the new sub-variants carry an increased risk of hospitalisation compared to the strain currently dominant in Denmark.
The number of COVID-19-related hospitalisations fell by 20 percent to 455 in Week 17 – the age group 70-89 remains the biggest group thereof.
Deaths related to COVID-19 also dropped over the same period, from 90 in Week 16 to 74 in Week 17.