Omicron subvariant BA.5 is now the dominant COVID strain in U.S.

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Saturday, July 9, 2022 - 12:25pm
Updated: Monday, July 11, 2022 - 12:28pm

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An omicron subvariant is quickly becoming the new dominant COVID strain in Arizona and across the country.

Dr. Shad Marvasti is with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. He says subvariant BA.5 has mutated in a way that leads to more breakthrough infections for those who are vaccinated and boosted.

“BA.5, this subvariant, is unique, in that it has multiple mutations of a spike protein that allow it to evade our immune system,” said Marvasti.

Marvasti says there’s an uptick in hospitalizations along with a recent surge in cases, but that neither number is approaching totals from earlier in the pandemic.

“We’re seeing, still, an uptick in hospitalizations, and definitely more ER visits, but the numbers of people who actually end up being hospitalized and dying is definitely nowhere near the way it was earlier in the pandemic,” said Marvasti.

He says those who are vaccinated and boosted are less likely to get seriously ill as a result of having COVID, but that people must wear masks to avoid getting the disease.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct which college Dr. Shad Marvasti works. 

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