If you, or friends and family, are worried about contracting COVID, you’ll want to know this first
President Joe Biden was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 on July 21, 2022. Biden had received four doses of vaccine, but why is he still infected with BA.5?
Just a few days after his initial recovery, on July 30 Biden got COVID again: White House doctor Kevin O’Connor said that it was a Paxlovid rebound case. Why doesn’t the current antiviral drug work on Biden?
What makes his BA.5 infection so difficult to cure?
Is there any other efficacious treatment modality?
Dr. Yuhong Dong, an infectious disease and antiviral drug development expert, gives us an in depth answer.
18 Times More Infectious
What Biden has been infected with is BA.5, the variant causing a new wave of infections in the United States.
Soon after the global spread of Omicron in early 2022, three different variants emerged, including BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3. Japanese virologists have suggested that BA.2 qualified to be termed as a new virus given its significant differences. However, since BA.2 is considered a variant of BA.1, it is still seen as part of the Omicron family.
BA.2 is almost a new virus, and BA.4 and BA.5 have had more mutations derived from BA.2, so we can imagine how different BA.4 and BA.5 are, compared to BA.1.
A Japanese study indicated that the Re value (effective reproduction number) of BA.4 and BA.5 is 1.2 times higher than that of BA.2. The effective reproduction number represents viral transmissibility. Currently, BA.4 and BA.5 have rapidly replaced BA.2 globally.
BA.4 and BA.5 are 18.3 times more infectious than BA.2, and are currently the variants with the fastest increasing transmission rate.