The Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness on Monday announced the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in fully vaccinated people.
The Permanent Secretary in the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness, Christopher Nyanga, said the mutations have been noted as a new sub-lineage of the Omicron variant.
Nyanga also said the mutations were detected in four people, two residents aged between 30 and 50 years, and the other being non-residents who had a recent travel history. Said Nyanga:
The preliminary finding of this new sublineage in Botswana has been designated as Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.
The four cases are currently being monitored to gather more information about the potential impact on disease spread and severity.
The quartet is fully vaccinated and has been experiencing only mild symptoms.
The same new sublineage has also been reported in three other countries.
The Ministry said it was studying the characteristics of the sub-variant in order to gain more data and knowledge about its behaviour.
It is not yet known whether the sublineage was deadlier and more transmissible than the known Omicron variant or not.
Similarly, the Ministry is carrying out investigations to establish whether COVID-19 vaccines were effective against the new sublineage.