user-circle-o search facebook linkedin2 twitter document-download info

Understanding BA.5: The Latest Covid Variant in the Spotlight


Introducing the Omicron BA.5 Subvariant

Covid variants have flooded the American health scene in rapid succession. The Omicron BA.5 Subvariant is latest in the spotlight. As of late July, BA.5 took over North America, accounting for an estimated 81.9% of all Covid cases.1 What does this mean for the health of the American people?

This article will uncover the effects of the new variant, and what makes BA.5 different from previous versions of Omicron.


A Guide to what we know about Omicron

Since the onset of Covid 19, numerous Omicron variants have developed. In early July 2022 a strain called BA.5— the most contagious strain to date alongside BA.4—is the main Omicron variant, becoming the primary strain in the US. The BA.5 Omicron strain is generally milder than previous strains, keeping more patients from serious illness and death.


What is BA.5?

BA.5 is the newest subvariant of Covid-19. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BA.5 is now causing over 80% of Covid-19 infections in the United States.2 BA.5 is fast spreading and immune evading.


How is the BA.5 subvariant of COVID-19 different?

BA.5 is different because of its immune evading nature. This is the most readily transmitted Covid variant to date.

BA.5 is shockingly good at evading immune protection from both vaccinations and previous infections of the virus.

In other words, if you’ve previously had the Covid virus or a vaccination, BA.5 is more likely than other variants to infect you again. Sometimes within a surprisingly short time from your last infection. Some sources have indicated patients getting the virus twice in a three-week span.

Yale Medicine is calling this variant “the most contagious one so far” along with its recent predecessor BA.4.3 The FDA is pushing vaccine manufacturers to target this strain along with BA.4 for fall booster shots to offer patients more specific protection.

And this BA.5 upsurge is not just in the USA. Cases of BA.5 have been rising worldwide including infections in Africa, Europe, Australia, and the UK.4


Is Omicron BA.5 more transmissible? Do I have a higher chance of developing severe disease than previous variants?

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers have investigated the issue of transmissibility. Is Omicron more transmissible than Delta variants and the original variants?

It seems so.

Omicron subvariants are more resistant to infection than other SARS CoV-2 viruses and therefore spread more quickly. The BA.5 Omicron subvariant began spreading rapidly in early 2022. Omicron symptoms are typically less severe than earlier Covid variants. However, each case should be assessed individually to determine if medical intervention is needed.


Is Covid-19 variant BA.5 now the dominant strain?

Yes. BA.5 quickly became the dominant variant in the USA. In fact, this strain is not only widespread in the United States, but globally.

To better understand how fast BA.5 can spread, we need to unpack the nature of this Covid variant. Variants are essentially mutated viruses. BA.5 is a mutation of Omicron that learned to evade human immune defenses. We will dive into this next.


Does the BA.5 Omicron subvariant evade immunity?

The quick answer: yes. The BA5 subvariant mutation has found a way to survive the body’s immune system easier. This variant can also evade immune protection from previous infections and vaccinations in the human body.

This means you’re not completely protected against future infections even if you were sick with the virus before, or received vaccinations and boosters against COVID-19. Which leads us to the next question.


Do current vaccines help fight BA.5?

Yes they help, but they’re not foolproof. Because of the immune-invading nature of the most current Omicron strains, past vaccinations may not protect you from getting the virus. New variants of Omicron, including BA.5, have a good chance of causing infections in anyone.

However, people receiving boosters or vaccinations seem to contract a more moderate form of the virus. These vaccines have been designed as safety measures to prevent deaths or serious diseases which require hospitalization.

Earlier reports this year indicated that vaccines provided, “30 to 40 percent protection against infection and around 70 percent protection against hospitalization without boosters.”5

The World Health Organization (WHO) still recommends vaccinations and masking when appropriate as cases continue to soar.


Will Covid-19 vaccine booster doses help?

Boosters offer more protection against Covid strains. Data shows that initial vaccine protection declines after 90 days.6 Boosters extend and enhance this protection range. Boosters may also help prevent severe disease if you do contract BA.5 or one of the Omicron variants.


What if I got a previous infection of COVID-19 recently? Can I get it again?

Unfortunately, yes. As described above, Omicron BA.5 has the ability to evade human immune protection from previous Covid-19 infections. It’s best for everyone to practice caution and protective measures when dealing with this new strain.

covid ba5 body temperature check

How can I protect myself from BA.5 and other Omicron subvariants?

There are several things you can do to protect yourself from the spread of BA.5. Reference current CDC guidelines to stay informed on current vaccines and boosters to boost immunity. This helps to reduce your risk of serious illnesses.

Masks should be worn in indoor settings if physical distancing is not possible. Also, in crowded outdoor environments a mask would be a wise addition. Avoiding crowds and washing your hands often are also important safeguards you can use.


Tell me the typical symptoms of a BA.5 infection. Can it cause severe illness?

The risk of getting severely infected is low compared to the original virus. However, the Centers for Disease Control and WHO still offer guidance to protect people from these new strains in hopes of preventing hospitalization and death.

Symptoms for BA.5 remain congruent with other Omicron strains. The most common symptoms of the infection include a sore throat, muscle pain, body aches, a runny nose, fever, chill, coughs, fatigue, and congestion. Loss of taste and smell are not common.

A recent White House report by Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that the severity of the variant is still being tested.

She adds, “We do know it to be more transmissible and more immune-evading. People with prior infection, even with BA.1 and BA.2, are likely still at high risk for BA.4 or BA.5.”7 Deaths from the variant are still relatively low, capping off in the 300s each day. However, hospitalizations from BA.5 have seen an incline of about 23%.8


What should I do if I get BA.5?

First, if you test positive for Covid-19 with a home test or in a healthcare facility, you need to isolate to avoid spreading the disease to other people. Rest as much as possible and take care of your body. If your condition worsens, seek medical help according to the guidelines below.


How do I know if I need medical attention for BA.5?

If your condition develops and becomes serious, contact your doctor as soon as possible. If you are older than 60, take extra precautions and seek medical assistance if needed.

If you have underlying conditions or poor health in general, it is also wise to seek medical advice. Previous conditions can put you at higher risk.

In the initial stages of the pandemic, many had a hard time going to the doctor and getting medical help in a hospital. Today, doctors and hospitals offer a broader range of treatment options including telehealth appointments and virtual care.


Conclusion on Omicron BA.5

As BA.5 makes its mark across America, protect yourself as best you can. Simple precautions like cleanliness, social distancing, and vaccinations go a long way to stopping the spread of illness. These precautions may be the key to keep you safe against the tidal wave of Omicron BA.5.  

asain woman putting mask for covid 19

American Biotech Supply

American Biotech Supply offers a full range of medical grade vaccine cold storage that meets NSF/ANSI 456 Standards for vaccine storage. Explore today. ABS | American Biotech Supply



Please contact us to discuss the best possible solutions for your refrigeration requirements and needs

Contact Us via web


via email:

Customer Service