Subvariant BA.5 of Ômicron is detected and is already circulating in Pernambuco

In a new genetic sequencing carried out by the Aggeu Magalhães Institute (IAM/Fiocruz-PE)in partnership with the State Health Department (SES-PE)released this Wednesday (22), it was identified that the subvariant BA.5 gives omicron is already circulating in Pernambuco. Between the 146 samples positives analyzed, nine were identified as BA.5. Samples were collected between January and June this year.

The nine genomes were collected between May 26 and June 1, in patients residing in the cities of Recife, Macaparana and São Bento do Una, seven women and two men, aged between 15 and 85 years. Of these, only two had a complete vaccination schedule and one of the patients had taken only one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Six were asymptomatic and another three had symptoms.

The other 137 processed genomes were also from the Ômicron lineage, with collections carried out between January and June, in patients residing in the municipalities of Barra de Guabiraba, Camaragibe, Caruaru, Garanhuns, Jaboatão dos Guararapes, Olinda, Paulista, Recife, Salgueiro, Vitória de Santo Antão, in addition to the Fernando de Noronha archipelago.

Last week, Pernambuco had already confirmed the circulation of Ômicron’s BA.4 subvariant in the state. In this new sequencing, 38 samples were identified as of the BA.4 subline.

“We remain attentive to the genomic surveillance of the new coronavirus, frequently monitoring the circulation of variants in Pernambuco territory. The entry of the sublines BA.4 and BA.5 further reinforces the importance of vaccination against Covid-19, including booster doses. It is important to remember that Pernambuco has already authorized the application of the fourth dose (or second booster dose) of the vaccine against Covid-19 in people over 40 years of age. These doses provide an increase in the amount of antibodies in the body, expanding protection and reducing the chance of infection or reinfection, as well as severe forms of the disease and deaths”, warns the executive secretary of Health Surveillance at SES-PE, Patrícia Ismael.

Still in terms of surveillance strategies, the Secretariat continues to send rapid antigen tests to Pernambuco municipalities so that local administrations can qualify their strategies. This month, there were more than 69,200 units offered to cities spread across all regions of the state – in the last week alone, the Secretariat delivered 62,400 tests. The State remains in contact with municipal administrations so that cities can ask the Secretariat for inputs for testing their citizens. SES-PE has more than 1.1 million rapid antigen tests in stock.

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