New variant of Omicron found in Joburg

The new variant of Omicron found in sewage is not necessarily dangerous and cannot cause a fifth wave, the expert said.

The National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NICD) has discovered a new sub-variant of Omicron called BA.4 in sewage in southwest Johannesburg.

This comes after a surge in new Covid-19 cases in South Africa, with 2,650 cases and seven deaths on Monday.

Speaking with 702 On Tuesday morning, NICD Executive Director Professor Adrian Puren said they are currently conducting research to determine the efficacy of vaccines against sub-options.

Puren said that with the rise in positive cases causing panic about the impending fifth wave, South Africa has not officially entered the fifth wave yet but is experiencing a resurgence.

“There is no official statement, I would say that we are in what we call a resurgence, a marked increase in cases,” Puren said.

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He said wastewater analysis is a critical indicator of transmission in communities.

“National Genomics of Laboratories is looking into options that are on the rise, and we have noticed that the Omicron 2 option, which has dominated the last month or two, could be replaced by two sub-options, BA.4 and BA.5. — which are considered highly contagious,” Puren said.

Speaking of the rise in infections, Health Department spokesman Foster Mohail warned unvaccinated South Africans to get vaccinated.

Puren also spoke about the issue of the country’s slow vaccination rate, saying they are trying different strategies to get South Africans to get vaccinated.

“It is very difficult, we are trying with different strategies to get people to get vaccinated, trying to convince them that this is more serious than the flu,” Puren said.

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