The Omicron Sub-Variant BA.5 Is the Worst Version of the Virus

Bad news from the Scripps Research Translational Institute — let’s find out more.

Diana Leotta


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

A frightening statement it is. However, experts say it is still unclear just how risky the situation is.

Eric Topol, the founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, goes on to say:

It takes immune escape, already extensive, to the next level, and, as a function of that, enhanced transmissibility, well beyond Omicron (BA.1) and other Omicron family variants that we have seen.

Omicron was first discovered in late 2021 and is highly infectious compared to previous versions of COVID.

The BA.5 strain is spreading throughout the country along with BA.4. According to the CDC, BA.5 accounts for 65% of COVID infections for the week ending July 9. BA.4 accounted for 16.3%.

According to Topol, BA.5 has shown that it has mutated significantly from early versions of Omicron. This will make it harder for our bodies to recognize its spike protein and provide immunity.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky reports that even though many of us have been infected with BA.1 or BA.2, we are most likely still at risk.

Director Walensky says that while data on vaccine effectiveness against BA.4 and BA.5 is still being collected, “we know that vaccine effectiveness against severe disease and death remains high for other Omicron sub-lineages and likely also for BA.4 and 5.”

That’s a relief. No guarantee, but hopeful.

Professor Francois Balloux, director of the University College London Genetics Institute, reports that they have massive data on BA.5 hospitalizations and death rates, showing no increase in severity over BA.1 and BA.2.

On July 12, the White House stated that, in the coming weeks, BA.5 has the potential to cause the number of infections to rise and that “vaccines remain our single-most important tool” to protect people.

Anti-virals like Paxlovid will also continue to be provided to health services.

I had both vaccines and one booster. I decided to wait on the second booster as I gambled the newer booster version would be available soon.

I got COVID in early May. My symptoms were fairly mild, with a fever of 100 for three days and fatigue.

I most likely had a previous version as only 1% of cases in early May were BA.4 and 5.

My doctor says my antibodies will protect me as well as a second booster would.

If you are not fully vaccinated, the time is now.

According to the CDC, when a new vaccine is available — perhaps in October, we will be able to get that one, too.

Let’s protect ourselves and everyone we come in contact with by vaccinating and masking indoors in crowded environments.



Diana Leotta

Retired from work, not from life. Musings on Life, Living and Learning. Always curious.