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What should people know about the omicron subvariant?

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People line up to get tested for COVID at a site in New York City on Monday. The new omicron variant, first detected in South Africa, is quickly spreading around the world.
Dallas Williams/ TPR News

The BA.5 variant has now become the most dominant and transmissible strain of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. The number of people catching the BA.5 variant of COVID-19 continues to grow, causing some reinfections.

The omicron variant was discovered in November 2021 in Botswana, and was considered more dangerous than the delta variant. With new variants spreading in the U.S. and around the world, there is still much to learn about the COVID-19 virus since its beginning.

A preprint study suggests that people who were vaccinated and boosted have decreased chances of neutralizing the BA.5 variant.

How transmissible are the new omicron variants? How vulnerable are people to reinfection? What is the level of vaccine efficacy on new variants? Are more boosters needed to fight the variants? How long does reinfection remain?


  • Carrie Kroll, vice president of advocacy, public policy and political strategy at the Texas Hospital Association
  • Jason Bowling, M.D., fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, associate professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and director of hospital epidemiology for University Health System

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet@TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Thursday, July 14.

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