BA.5 omicron subvariant: Symptoms, what to watch for if you think you have new COVID strain

Covid-19 vaccine

In this March 2021 photo provided by Pfizer, vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared for packaging at the company’s facility in Puurs, Belgium. (Pfizer via AP)AP

BA.5, the latest subvariant of the omicron variant of COVID-19, is being blamed for the surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BA.5′s presence in the U.S. accounts for 65% of the new infections over the past week. It is highly transmissible and spreading fast.

What are the BA.5 symptoms?

BA.5, like other COVID variants, can present in different ways according to the patient, their age and other health factors. It does, however, tend to share symptoms with other omicron variants.

Generally, BA.5 appears to be presenting itself upon infection similarly to other respiratory viruses like the flu: runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever, persistent cough and fatigue.

It is unclear if BA.5 is causing a dramatic uptick of people losing their senses of smell and taste, both hallmarks of earlier COVID strains.

BA.5 is more transmissible because it appears to evade antibody protection from previous infections and vaccines.

“The mutations allow BA.5 to escape neutralizing antibodies elicited by previous Omicron variants. However, vaccines and previous infections still provide protection from serious disease,” Dr. Sandra Adams, a professor of biology and virologist at Montclair State University, said.

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How to protection yourself against BA.5

According to the CDC, the best course of action to prevent severe illness is to get vaccinated if you are 6 months of age or older and have not received your primary series of vaccinations If you are 5 years of age or older, the CDC recommends a booster shot if you are eligible.

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