Omicron BA.4.6, a subvariant of BA.4, has been attracting some media attention over the past few days. The subvariant of BA.4 is prevalent in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, making up 10.7% of all local cases in that region.
BA.4 is the quiet half-brother of the BA.5 subvariant which has been rampaging across the globe for the last two months. Now, it looks like BA.4 may have finally found a purpose.
According to CoVSPectrum, with nearly 3,000 samples, BA.4.6 currently represents just over 4% of sequences nationally in the US, and is seeing steady growth.
BA.4.6 accounts for nearly 5% of sequences in the UK, and around 6% of sequences in Canada. France and Denmark have just over 1% of sequences showing as BA.4.6. The new strain has also been detected in 43 other countries.
Internationally, BA.4.6 accounts for about 2.4 percent of all sequences.
The relative growth rate of BA.4.6 has been picking up, perhaps in response to the slow decay of BA.5.
The CDC variant tracker is showing growth in BA.4.6 (in dark blue):
Data from New York is showing BA.4.6 (in brown) at over 5% of sequences:
Raj Rajnarayanan’s Covid tracker is showing that BA.4.6 is already the 9th most frequent subvariant in the USA:
In the UK, BA.4.6 seems to be easily outcompeting BA.2.75 (in blue) according Sanger:
An interesting thread from Diego Bassani about the BA.4.6 situation in Australia:
Billions of infection events have what may **look like** an incredible way of selecting the same fittest variant everywhere in the planet at the same time. Here’s BA.4.6 ruining BA.5’s parade in Australia too. It’s selection. Simple. pic.twitter.com/ycXxxuie1l
— Diego Bassani, PhD (@DGBassani) August 6, 2022
Spike protein mutation map of some of the recent variants detected with growth at low levels (e.g. BF.5, Israel, BA.4.6 in US) compared with previous Omicron lineages pic.twitter.com/JZKZFjjsxe
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) August 3, 2022
Updated variant proportions show continued growth in BA.5, up to ~86% of sequences. BA.4.6 (~4%) now listed separately, has been circulating for several weeks.
More here: https://t.co/YIeQkH8YmE pic.twitter.com/siuuDk6Lwo
— Dr. Cyrus Shahpar (@cyrusshahpar46) August 2, 2022
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking a new COVID-19 subvariant of concern that is spreading quickly in the United States. https://t.co/tCIVlLzeD7
— Boston 25 News (@boston25) August 5, 2022
** Based on past experience, for the next winter wave, Coronaheadsup is expecting a completely different variant to Omicron to appear. We don’t think this subvariant is it. **