Tanja Jovanovic Belgrade Medicine Faculty professor told N1 on Wednesday that "sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus genome is being done at the Faculty of Medicine by a demanding molecular method, which is important because it monitors the activity of the virus and its variability."
She added that thanks to that sequencing, „we were able to define all the variants of the virus that were present in our population, including this subvariant of the omicron strain BA.2, also known as the Stealth subvariant of the virus.“
„This subvariant of the virus has increased its infectivity so that it is one and a half times easier to transmit than the original Omicron strain,“ Jovanovic said.
The variant first appeared in Asia, in the Philippines, at the end of November 2021. Then it spread to Europe was registered in Australia.
Jovanovic added that „what is certain is that the Stealth subvariant breaks through vaccine immunity and natural immunity and can infect people who have previously contracted an infection or have been vaccinated.“
„What we know from the literature in this relatively short period is that the clinical manifestations are the same as in people infected with the original Omicron strain. That includes a cold syndrome, which lasts several days without significant consequences. In older people and in those with chronic diseases, the clinical status can be more difficult, „she said.
Jovanovic added that besides the upper respiratory tract infection, there was also lung infection.
„It has been noticed that we do not have a large number of hospitalised, but we have a large number of people on ventilators and a large number of deaths daily,“ she said, adding that those data should not be ignored.
She warned that the situation should be taken seriously and that it was still „extraordinary.“