The Emergence of 2 New SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Subvariants in Dhaka City

  • From 23 July to 9 September 2022, 38 SARS-CoV-2 complete genomes were sequenced. Genomics data reveals that only Omicron variants were circulating in Dhaka City; 26 Omicron BA.5 and 12 Omicron BA.2.
  • Initially, Omicron BA.5 was the only circulating subvariant, then a major shift was observed from BA.5 to BA.2 during the last 3 weeks (Fig.1).
  • During this period, 2 new subvariants emerged, i.e. BA.2.75 (n=6), and BJ.1 (n=1) from the parent BA.2.
  • This emergence of new subvariants is most likely responsible for the current surge of COVID-19 infection in the country.

Similar results have been reported by ideSHi (GISAID.ORG). They identified both Omicron BA.2.75 and BJ.1 in Dhaka city. These new sub-variants of Omicron were first identified in India in May 2022. At present, BA.2.75 is the most dominant subvariant in India, which possesses more mutations in the spike gene compared to the parent Omicron variant.

The emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 is not new but a natural evolutionary trait of a virus. Even though, everyone should continue practicing the following precautions to keep safe from COVID-19:

  • Vaccination is key; get vaccinated
  • Keep wearing a well-fitted facemask
  • Maintain physical distancing, even though vaccinated or naturally infected
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently