- Omicron BA.5 is the dominant COVID strain in the US.
- One expert called it "the worst version of the virus that we've seen."
- It has a concerning ability to escape immunity and reinfect quickly.
Health experts in the US and abroad have found that the coronavirus variant currently responsible for most infections in the US, Omicron BA.5, can quickly reinfect people who already have protection against the virus.
Chief Health Officer of Western Australia Andrew Robertson told news.com.au that he's seeing people get reinfected with COVID-19 within just four weeks.
"What we are seeing is an increasing number of people who have been infected with BA2 and then becoming infected (again) after four weeks," he said. "So maybe six to eight weeks (later) they are developing a second infection, and that's almost certainly either BA4 or BA5."
As of July 2, Omicron BA.5 was responsible for about 53% of COVID infections in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BA.4, another contagious Omicron subvariant, accounted for 16.5% of the infections.
The two sub-variants are known to have mutations that let them evade protection against the virus from COVID-19 vaccines or prior infections.
Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, called BA.5 "the worst version of the virus that we've seen" in a recent blog post due to its ability to evade immunity and increased transmissibility.
Meanwhile, Peter Chin-Hong, a University of California, San Francisco infectious disease expert, told the Los Angeles Times that variants BA.4 and BA.5's "superpower is reinfection."