Mosialos: What we know about the effects of B4 / 5 sub-variants in South Africa


The hitherto known data on B4 / B5 coronavirus variants that prevailed in South Africa a few weeks before their spread to European countries, As was the case with the original Omicron executive who initially dominated South Africa, Health Policy Professor Elias Mosialos of the School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Imperial College London summed up in a Facebook post.

He points out that “South Africa’s demographics are different and more favorable than those of European countries. “We also know that only 32% of South Africans have had two doses of the vaccine.”

According to data from the National Institute of Public Health (NICD) for South Africa, on the total number of deaths from coronavirus infection in hospitals, ” and the wave of B4 / B5 much smaller compared to that of Omicron 1 and 2, in terms of deaths recorded in hospitals.

Exposure to previous strains – even of Micron – does not prevent mild B4 / B5 infections. We also know that vaccines are not effective in preventing mild infections. Nevertheless, it seems that the combination of previous exposure and vaccination or only previous exposure or vaccination alone offers significant protection in reducing mortality.

I will remind you here that the initial laboratory studies of universities in Hong Kong and Israel for Omicron in December 2021 showed the effect mainly on the upper respiratory tract. I then pointed out that the combination of these studies and trends in South Africa shows that the Omicron is likely to have a smaller mortality impact compared to the Delta. Many had disagreed and thought the effects would be greater. “Of course, they were refuted based on the multiple data that we now have from both clinical and epidemiological studies.”

“South Africa is obviously different from Europe. But when we see certain trends in a country and every wave that comes causes less impact, then it makes sense to expect similar trends (not a corresponding number of deaths per 1,000 inhabitants). “In other countries, we expect this because, for example, European countries, despite having worse demographics, have better health systems, a much higher vaccination rate and much greater access to antiviral drugs.”

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