BA.5 Omicron variant the most contagious – Dr. Jeewandara

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Director of Operations and Clinical Services of the Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara warned the BA.5 lineage of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, of the coronavirus, posed a high risk as it was most contagious and most immune evasive strain yet.  

In a tweet, Dr. Jeewandara said on Friday (29) that the BA.5 had the same key L452R mutation as that of the delta variant. “We all know what happened when Delta was here with us,” he said, urging the public to get themselves the booster second dose, mask up  at least indoors and test if they were  symptomatic. 

He noted that the world was experiencing one of the largest Covid-19 waves and that it was “fuelled by the Omicron BA.5 sub variant, the most contagious and most immune evasive coronavirus strain yet,” he warned.

Dr. Jeewandara cautioned the public that hospitalisations would increase in Sri Lanka with the current BA.5 wave. 

Meanwhile, Acting Director of the Epidemiology Unit, Dr. Samitha Ginige lamented that by Thursday (28), only 17,000 of the total target population had taken the second booster dose. The risk posed by the fast spreading subvariant of BA.5 of the Coronavirus posed a high risk to the over 60s elderly population and persons with comorbidities, he said when contacted. 

Dr. Ginige noted that out of the 14.4 million of the over 20s population in the country, only eight million had taken the first booster dose. The Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry issued clear instructions