Five cases of new Covid subvariant found

Five cases of new Covid subvariant found

EG.5.1 is known to spread quickly but has mild symptoms, say health officials

A nurse prepares a Covid-19 vaccine shot at parliament on May 11. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
A nurse prepares a Covid-19 vaccine shot at parliament on May 11. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Thailand has detected five cases of a new coronavirus XBB subvariant called EG.5.1 which is known to spread quickly but has mild symptoms, according to the Department of Medical Sciences.

The department found one person infected with the EG.5.1 subvariant in April, three cases in May and another in June. The patients did not have severe symptoms, said Dr Supakit Sirilak, the department chief.

Dr Supakit explained that EG.5.1 or XBB.1.9.2.5.1 belongs to Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.9.2, ,which has a mutation in spike proteins S:F456L and S:Q52H that accelerates its speed of transmission by 45% more than XBB.1.16.

In Asia, he said, the new subvariant has been found in 11 countries including China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, Laos, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and India.

The Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) has reported 1,385 cases of EG.5.1 in Europe, 203 in Oceania, 35 in North America, four in Central America and one case in South America.

In Asia between June 4 and July 4, the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 was still the dominant strain, followed by XBB.1.9.1 and EG.5.1.

Currently, the World Health Organization has focused on eight Omicron subvariants, including two variants of interest which are XBB.1.5 and XBB.1.16. Six variants classified as under monitoring are BA.2.75, CH.1.1, XBB, XBB.1.9.1, XBB.1.9.2 and XBB.2.3.

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