Vaccines losing race against new Omicron mutants in Thailand: virologist

The Covid-19 virus is mutating so quickly that new vaccines cannot keep up, leading virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan has warned.

The Nation

The Nation



December 9, 2022

BANGKOK – Writing on Facebook, Yong explained that the Omicron variant that was dominant at the start of the year had since mutated from BA.1 to BA.2, BA.4, BA.5 and BA.2.75 subvariants, respectively.

BA.2.75 has become the dominant strain in Thailand over the past two months, overtaking BA.5 which accounted for most cases in June, he added.

BA.2.75 has sent daily Covid infections in Thailand soaring to over 700 per day in the past week.

However, Yong expects BA.2.75 to be replaced as Thailand’s dominant strain by Omicron BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants spreading from the West.

“The mutation is happening over time,” he said, adding that genetic changes are occurring too quickly for vaccines to keep up.

Yong also said that the protection offered by second-generation vaccines targeted at Omicron strains was no higher than first-gen vaccines.

But Covid-19’s severity would drop as awareness and immunity in Thailand rise, he added.

He also expects the Covid situation to improve once new antiviral drugs are rolled out.

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