A new COVID-19 strain, a really transmissible one, is emerging

Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 account for 70% of U.S. cases.


National News

July 11, 2022 - 4:30 PM

A syringe filled with COVID-19 vaccine. TNS

BALTIMORE — If you’ve recently been infected with COVID-19 or know someone infected, and you probably do, you can probably blame BA.5, one of five subvariants of omicron and possibly the most transmissible yet.

It’s now the dominant strain in Maryland and nationally and, along with a close relative, BA.4, accounts for 70% of U.S. cases. And it’s not just contagious, it’s also adept at evading people’s immune defenses, making it a particular threat.

“What that means is there is a smaller hill for the virus to get over,” said Andrew Pekosz, a professor of immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who has been studying the coronavirus. “We’re going to see a lot of infections and reinfections.”

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