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SARS-CoV-2 omicron BA.5 dominant strain in North Macedonia; BQ.1.1 also taking foothold

The SARS-CoV-2 omicron subvariant BA.5 has become one of the dominant strains of the virus in North Macedonia, according to the Institute of Public Health. In the past week, its virologists sequenced 30 samples positive for SARS-CoV-2 and in 26 of them detected BA.5. As the most easily spread strain to date, BA.5 escapes the antibodies made by the immune system from either previous SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination.

Skopje, 6 December 2022 (MIA) — The SARS-CoV-2 omicron subvariant BA.5 has become one of the dominant strains of the virus in North Macedonia, according to the Institute of Public Health. In the past week, its virologists sequenced 30 samples positive for SARS-CoV-2 and in 26 of them detected BA.5. As the most easily spread strain to date, BA.5 escapes the antibodies made by the immune system from either previous SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination.

Of the 26 samples that were positive for BA.5, four also showed the presence of the highly infectious BQ.1.1, which is one of the newest of some 300 sublineages of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant circulating worldwide.

In the 30 samples positive for SARS-CoV-2, taken in October and November 2022, the Institute for Public Health’s virologists also detected four that were positive for the BA.2 omicron subvariant.

In addition, they sequenced nine samples positive for the human Respiratory Syncytial Virus, the respiratory virus currently surging globally. The RSV-positive samples were found to be the RSV-B subtype.

All of the sequenced RSV-B cases were severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), according to the report. mr/

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