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Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 emergence, UNAIR epidemiologist: Health protocols still the key

Source: Detik Health

UNAIR NEWS – The Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) confirmed that the emergence of Covid-19 subvariants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 was detected in Indonesia in early June. Epidemiologist from the Faculty of Public Health (FKM) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) Laura Navika Yamani SSi MSi explained that the new variants of COVID-19 BA.4 and BA.5 were first discovered in South Africa.

“This new variants of COVID-19, BA.4 and BA.5, were first discovered in South Africa and there were at least eight cases of BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants recorded by the Ministry of Health,” she told UNAIR NEWS, Thursday, June 23, 2022.

Furthermore, Laura said that three of the eight cases found in Indonesia were imported infections. In addition, there were also cases of local transmission detected in Bali and Jakarta.

“Of the eight cases, three people were identified as imported cases, from Mauritius, the United States, and Brazil. While the rest are of local transmission,” said Laura.

Most of the positive COVID-19 Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 patients detected in Bali and Jakarta, said Laura, did not show and felt mild symptoms, while one patient felt moderate symptoms.

In the findings of the Covid-19 case, the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, Laura said that there were two patients infected with BA.4 and six patients with BA.5.

“From the case findings, two patients were reported to be exposed to Omicron BA.4, while six patients were exposed to Omicron BA.5. They have received the full dose of Covid-19 vaccine, booster or three doses; some even have four doses,” said the Faculty of Public Health lecturer.


Laura emphasized that the preventive measures that can be taken are still the implementation of health protocols and vaccinations.

“Covid-19 prevention measures of any variants are still the same as before. Health protocols are still an important key, and vaccinations need to be encouraged, especially for booster vaccines whose coverage is still low, below 30 percent,” said Laura.

According to Laura, the antibodies formed after vaccination can diminish within a period of more than six months. For this reason, it is necessary to revive antibodies to strengthen the body’s resistance to possible new variants that appear.

The Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, according to Laura, have almost the same symptoms as their fellow Omicron variants. However, it is lighter than the Delta variant.

In the new variant, the number of cases has increased but is still within safe limits. Meanwhile, the increase due to the emergence of BA.4 or BA.5 in Indonesia to this day is mostly local transmission.

Laura said that until now, there have been no deaths caused by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 viruses. “The good news is that the severity is low, and no deaths have been found. South Africa has reached the peak of BA.4/BA.5. The peak height of the case is about 1/3 of the peak of the Omicron BA.1. The CRF is only 5 per 100,000 positive cases, compared to the CFR in the previous subvariance, which was 1-4 per hundred positive cases,” she said. (*)

Author: Septiana Wulandari

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh