RKI weekly report
Omicron subvariant BA.2 at 97 percent
The omicron subtype BA.2 is clearly predominant in Germany. What about the other variants? The RKI weekly report provides information on this.
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the omicron subvariant BA.2 is now likely to cause the vast majority of corona infections in Germany.
According to the latest findings – a sample from the week before last – their share was 97 percent, according to the RKI weekly report on Thursday evening.
BA.1, the previously predominant subtype, comes to just under three percent. According to the data, the relatively new omicron sublines BA.4 and BA.5 have not played any particular role so far: BA.4 is listed with a share of 0 percent, BA.5 with 0.1 percent. Mixed variants have so far only been detected in isolated cases, writes the RKI. In Germany, the genome is only completely examined in a small proportion of positive samples.
Mutation responsible for increased disease severity
The Charité virologist Christian Drosten recently wrote on Twitter about variants that there is a certain mutation in the spike protein in BA.4 and BA.5, which is also known from the Delta variant and which was found in experiments with hamsters with increased disease severity be associated. In addition, it is likely that the variants would escape antibodies from vaccinated and recovered people better. In the USA and India, for example, another variant is observed with BA.2.12.1, in which one can also think of increased disease severity due to a certain mutation. “You have to continue to monitor the situation,” Drosten summed up.
Regarding the vaccination campaign, the RKI states in the weekly report that mainly second booster vaccinations are currently being administered. According to the RKI and the Standing Vaccination Commission, this is intended to protect risk groups and people over the age of 70 from a serious illness. According to the report, only just under 60 percent of all people in Germany received the first booster vaccination that is recommended more widely. The report again emphasizes that vaccination, with its “high protective effect against a severe course”, has not lost its importance.
“Delayed late registrations” due to the Easter holidays
The RKI explained the influence of the Easter holidays and vacations with fewer tests on the registration data: Presumably more cases were not recorded, “with delayed late registrations and transmissions”. However, the key figures for hospital admissions continue to decrease. Overall, health experts continue to speak of high infection pressure, with more than 750,000 cases reported within a week.
The prescribed isolation for infected people should nevertheless be reduced to five days. This was announced by the Ministry of Health in Saxony-Anhalt on Thursday evening. In a video link by the heads of federal and state departments, the Federal Ministry of Health announced that the recommendation of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) regarding the length of isolation and quarantine should be adjusted at the beginning of next week. “Essentially, it is about reducing the isolation period for those who have been proven to be positive to five days.” Saxony-Anhalt currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).
The countries want to revise their isolation and quarantine regulations accordingly. The health ministers justify the step with increasing immunity in the population and milder disease progression with the omicron variant. Several countries have already taken steps to shorten the isolation period.