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Corona virus: RKI: No indications of more severe corona courses due to BA.5

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The curve of intensive care patients with Covid-19 in Germany has been rising again since mid-June, to over 1000. Is this due to a more dangerous virus variant?

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) continues to see no increasing severity of the disease due to the currently particularly widespread corona variant in Germany.

There is no evidence that the now dominant omicron subline BA.5 causes more severe courses or is more deadly than previous variants, writes the RKI in the Covid 19 weekly report on Thursday evening. Nevertheless, “due to the sharp increase in cases of infection alone”, a correspondingly higher number of severe courses can be observed, which leads to more hospital admissions. “The number of deaths is increasing in connection with the high number of infections or late registrations, but so far only slightly.”

BA.5 share in corona infections

According to the RKI data, BA.5 is still responsible for the majority of corona infections in Germany. In the most recent sample examined from the week before last, it already accounted for 77 percent, after 65 percent the week before. The proportion is now likely to be even higher. In the case of the other Omikron sub-line BA.4, which had recently also increased from week to week, a slightly declining trend can now be seen: the share fell from 7.5 to 6.7 percent. The remaining cases still belong to the previously dominant subline BA.2.

For the past week, the RKI states that the nationwide seven-day incidence has only increased slightly compared to the previous week. Overall, the RKI speaks of more acute respiratory diseases in the population for this time of year compared to years before the pandemic. For the past week, 1.2 million visits to the doctor for this reason and 4.5 million cases were assumed, it said. “These values ​​are significantly higher than the values ​​in the summer of pre-pandemic years and indicate a greater incidence of infection due to acute respiratory infections.”

pathogens in children

According to random virological studies, it is mainly Sars-CoV-2 that is behind it in adults, while other pathogens are the main cause in children, it said. Parainfluenza and rhinoviruses were mentioned. In previous reports, the RKI had spoken of an increased activity of respiratory diseases for the time of year. The RKI gave no information on possible reasons. In the past, immunologists had spoken of catch-up effects. At the height of the pandemic, many pathogens were observed less frequently.

The Frankfurt virologist Sandra Ciesek also pointed out on Twitter that diagnostics is currently showing a colorful picture of pathogens. If you have symptoms and a PCR test for Sars-CoV-2 is negative, “then it is very likely that you are infected with another pathogen”. Of course, there are false negatives, but they are rare.

Most effective measure against Corona

As in a previously published, new vaccination report, the RKI also underlined the benefits of the corona vaccination in the weekly report: “Due to its high protective effect against a severe course, even in diseases caused by the omicron variant, it has not lost its importance”. The vaccination report pointed out, among other things, that millions of people in Germany would have to refresh their Covid 19 vaccination protection.

The General Practitioners Association called on the federal government to start a new vaccination campaign. Vaccination is and remains the most important and effective measure in the fight against the corona virus, said the association’s chairman, Ulrich Weigeldt, to the editorial network Germany (RND/Friday). “We therefore need a positive vaccination campaign – not only for the fourth vaccination, but also to close the vaccination gaps for the first and third vaccinations,” emphasized Weigeldt. The campaign must motivate people and not scare them.