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Scientist warns Covid is ‘still dangerous and highly infectious’ – key symptoms

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The BA.5 Omicron sub-variant, which fuelled the latest Covid wave, is more than three times as likely to put patients in hospital, according to new research. Furthermore, an expert warns that Covid still remains “dangerous and highly infectious”. Being able to identify the symptoms promptly could still be useful.

A study, published in Medrxiv, found that the new dominant sub-variant is more likely to land you in a hospital compared to its predecessor BA.2.

Denis Kinane, Founding Scientist at Cignpost Diagnostics, said: “Portuguese researchers have found that people who had been vaccinated and boosted had a seven percent risk of hospitalisation from BA.2, rising to 23 percent with BA.5.

“This suggests they are 3.3 times more at risk of falling seriously ill. This latest research is very concerning.

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“While rising case numbers are always a worry, the biggest concern is increasing hospitalisation. While this is only a single study, it is a stark reminder that COVID is not over.”

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The scientist reminded that despite what many might think, Covid is still a “dangerous and highly infectious disease”.

While the Covid cases seem to be declining, with the Government data reporting a 34.3 percent drop in the week ending on 29 July, many are still dying.

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According to the Office for National Statistics, there were almost 24,000 fatalities involving coronavirus over the last six months.

The expert warned that unvaccinated patients might be at a greater risk. Kinane said: “BA.5, like other variants, is still a severe threat to vulnerable groups.

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The ZOE Covid Study App explains that those who are fully jabbed might experience fewer symptoms and also fall ill less seriously.

However, Kinane added that while your booster can cut your risk of hospitalisation, it doesn’t prevent you from catching the virus altogether.

She said: “Summer festivals and major events are believed to be contributing factors to a surge in COVID infection numbers.

“Despite 1 in 20 people in the UK population with COVID, we are now not testing, and thus infected people are mixing with others while unknowingly carrying COVID.”

Another problem is the waning immunity linked to the vaccines. That’s why boosters have been introduced, with the next rollout planned for those who are 50 and over this autumn.

Kinane also criticised the scrapping of universal free testing in the UK. She said: “This month, testing numbers in France and Germany have risen dramatically as they correctly attempt to diagnose, inform and protect their population.

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“Without the lack of a baseline surveillance system and the absence of a testing framework in the UK, we have very limited visibility on the virus’ prevalence in the population and its mutation and thus it is quite possible that cases will continue to increase.

“We are also likely to see more mutations and recombinant variants of this virus if sections of the population remain unvaccinated or immune status wanes. “


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