The omicron subvariant BA.5 is also spreading in Germany – no surprise for virologist Drosten. He doesn’t show concern. However, he was “a little worried” about developments in Portugal.

The development of the corona situation in Germany with the increase in the omicron subvariant BA.5 has not come as a surprise to the virologist Christian Drosten.

“The expectations I expressed at the beginning of spring have been confirmed. We are not experiencing an infection-free summer this year, but this is not initially a threat, »said the head of the Charité Virology Institute in Berlin at the request of the German Press Agency.

The virologist continues to write that he is “somewhat concerned” about the development in Portugal, where not only the incidence but also the number of deaths has increased. “There are no obvious explanations for this, because other European countries also have BA.5 increases without an increase in mortality.” For more clarity you have to wait a bit: “In a month we will know if something similar is happening to us.”

Omicron vaccines available in September at the earliest

Meanwhile, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach is expecting corona vaccines that are adapted to the omicron variants in autumn. He doesn’t expect it until September at the earliest, said the SPD politician on Thursday on Deutschlandfunk. This is being worked on intensively. There is promising data from Moderna, and they are also in contact with Biontech. He is confident that there will be very good adapted vaccines. Lauterbach called BA.5 “not a particularly dangerous variant”, even if it was more contagious than BA.1 and BA.2.

The Federal Government’s Corona Expert Council had pushed for preparations for autumn and winter on Wednesday and drafted three scenarios for the development of the pandemic. Lauterbach described the middle scenario with less serious effects as currently the most likely. It cannot be ruled out that there will be virus variants that are more contagious and dangerous. “But we all hope not,” said Lauterbach. However, you have to be prepared for it.

The minister mentioned the procurement of vaccines, a vaccination and a test concept and faster data from the hospitals. “These are things that have to be prepared now. The Federal Ministry of Health is already working on this.”

“In any case” the Infection Protection Act must also be changed and extended. It expires on September 23. The FDP calls for waiting for the expertise of a committee of experts, which evaluates previous protective measures. The report should be available by June 30th. “I can follow that without any ifs or buts,” emphasized Lauterbach. Everyone has the same goal, “to be able to react quickly and appropriately to the situation with as few restrictions on freedom as possible”. “We have a duty there, and that’s exactly what will happen,” emphasized the minister.

In Germany, the nationwide seven-day incidence is 276.9 according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Thursday. The day before, the value of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants and week was 238.1 (previous week: 221.4; previous month: 499.2). However, the incidence does not provide a complete picture of the infection situation. New data on the distribution of the omicron subvariant BA.5 are expected in the RKI weekly report on Thursday evening. Most recently, the proportion had doubled in a sample every week, but still at a low level.