Expert warns about spread of Omicron subvariants

expert warns about spread of omicron subvariants

Medical personnel demonstrate the Besuto Qlears nasal spray developed as protection against Covid-19, N1N1 and respiratory viruses at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, on Monday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

One of the nation's leading physicians expressed his concern about the growing spread of Omicron subvariants of the Covid-19 virus in the country.

According to Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist with Vichaiyut Hospital, infections caused by subvariants of the Omicron strain have been on the rise since last month.

In a post on his Facebook page, Dr Manoon noted that Vichaiyut Hospital alone confirmed 986 cases via antigen test kits (ATKs) and PCR testing last month.

The number of patients admitted due to Omicron subvariant infections was higher than the number of admissions caused by seasonal pulmonary diseases, such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), he noted.

Dr Manoon’s analysis is consistent with a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov 2, which found that infections caused by subvariants of the Omicron strain are increasing globally.

Furthermore, his analysis was also in line with a study by the Department of Medical Sciences, which found an increasing number of infections caused by five new subvariants of the Omicron strain — including the BA, BQ and XBB sub-variants, which the WHO have declared as sub-variants under close watch — in the country this month.

Dr Manoon advised everyone to get their annual flu shot, before adding individuals who have had at least three doses of Covid vaccines recover much faster after an infection. Many of the cases that turned critical, the physician noted, were among the unvaccinated.