Top White House Doc Says BA.5 ‘Most Immune Evasive’ Variant Yet

On 26 November 2021, WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE). This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs.

At a glance

  • White House COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha on Sunday declared the new BA.5 subvariant of COVID “the most immune evasive” and urged older Americans and those with compromised immune systems to take a booster shot.
  • The vaccines and boosters that Americans took were targeted at the original strain, and while it offers protection from severe illness with other variants, Jha said that is limited.
  • “We’re still seeing some protection against infection but not as much,” Jha told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz. “This is that immune evasive nature of this virus. So if you got your booster let’s say last November or December, you don’t have as much protection against this virus as you’d like.”

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