Should we worry about the most recent Omicron subvariant, BA 4 and BA5?
This programme is now available ON-Demand by visiting the Science in Action Page, it will be available until Thursday the 9th of June. It will also be broadcast on Sunday the 5th of June in Phuket at 9:00 AM on 91.5 FM and 102.5 FM and Online via the Internet radio portals.
They are the subtypes of the Covid-19 virus now dominant in southern Africa and spreading elsewhere.
New research suggests that they are better at evading our antibody defences than other forms of the virus. Columbia University virologist David Ho explains the findings and what they mean for us.
Also, reducing air pollution makes agricultural crops grow better, how large wildfires warm the upper atmosphere, and the dolphins in the Red Sea which use secretions from corals and sponges as preventative medicines.
Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker
Image Description: Coronavirus COVID-19 virus Credit: Getty Images
More about Omicron subvariant BA.4 and BA.5
BA.4 and BA.5 were first detected in South Africa in January and February 2022, respectively, and since then they have become the dominant variants there.
Both lineages contain the amino-acid substitutions L452R, F486V, and R493Q in the spike receptor-binding domain compared to BA.2. Preliminary studies suggest a significant change in antigenic properties of BA.4 and BA.5 compared to BA.1 and BA.2, especially compared to BA.1.
Additionally, there is an increasing trend in the variant proportions for BA.5 observed in Portugal in recent weeks, accompanied by an increase in COVID-19 case numbers and test positivity rate.
Source: Epidemiological update: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5