Fast Five Quiz: COVID-19 Variants

Glenn Wortmann, MD


August 03, 2022

Certain COVID-19 variants have been associated with increased transmissibility and a modified risk for morbidity and mortality compared with the wild-type or previously dominant viral variants. For example, the first reported Omicron subvariant (BA.1) was shown to spread more easily than previous COVID-19 variants; however, some large studies have shown that it had a lower rate of severe disease. A paucity of data exists regarding changes in disease severity for Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

In addition, comparing the inherent virulence of different variants is difficult because significant differences in the levels and types of population immunity exist at any given time and in any given region, resulting from vaccination and/or previous infection.

Furthermore, some COVID-19 variants may exhibit decreased susceptibility to certain monoclonal antibody treatments. In fact, data have shown that treatment with certain monoclonal antibodies is highly unlikely to be effective in patients infected with Omicron variants.

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