Omicron BA.5: What are The Symptoms, and How Dangerous Is It?


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


7 min read


Coronavirus new variant BA.5 was the first highly transmissible virus after alpha, beta, and delta variants. The CDC has stated that Omicron variants spread faster than the average virus. The variant caused an alarming rise in all the cases in South Africa. BA.5 was the most transmissible of all the variants. So everyone has only one question - are the Omicron variants Omicron BA.4 and Omicron BA.5 more harmful to humans than the delta variant? Let's find out!

Key Takeaways

  • Try getting the booster dose as it will protect you against the new variant
  • Vaccinated people are less likely to be severely affected by the virus
  • Newer variants of Covid will keep surfacing till the pandemic subsides completely

COVID-19 has increased at a very high pace ever since Omicron BA.5 variant spread all around, affecting almost everyone. In July 2022, primarily during early June, BA.5 subvariant emerged along with Omicron's BA.5, making up nearly 50% of the total cases that occurred, and this strain had been predominating in the United States of America [1]. Omicron's BA.4 accounted for almost 20% of the cases in the United States of America.

As per the empirical evidence, the original Omicron caused a much less severe disease than the delta variant. Research on BA.5 Omicron variant is still ongoing, and scientists are still learning about it. However, data has shown that hospitalization and death are low compared to the delta variant, which has killed many people. Tracking this Omicron variant is not just time-consuming but equally overwhelming.

What is Omicron?

Let's discuss the background of the Omicron variant first. This variant was first identified in Botswana in South Africa around November 2021. However, many reports state otherwise. Some earlier cases have been reported in the Netherlands. The CDC confirmed that the first case occurred in the United States in November in a person residing in California who traveled to South Africa. The United States saw a predominant strain of the Omicron variant.

The World Health Organisation and the CDC regarded the Omicron variant as the variant of concern [2]. In all the early cases registered in South Africa, all the symptoms were not so severe, and this virus looked different from the previous variants. The patients suffered from extreme fatigue but no loss of taste or smell. But still, some people had to be hospitalized, and the disease was even fatal for some. That is why experts voiced their concerns and stated that Omicron BA.5 should not be taken lightly.   

Additional read: Omicron Symptoms, New VariantsOmicron BA.5

Omicron BA.5: Is It Transmissible as Well as Deadly?

Coronavirus's new variant BA.5, was the first highly contagious virus after alpha, beta, and delta variants.  

Although the original Omicron has caused a significant number of Covid cases, the BA.5 variant has caused fewer cases that lead to severe death or hospitalization. In addition, according to the CDC, if a person is vaccinated, they are less likely to show any severe symptoms of Omicron. According to the CDC, if a person has gotten Covid once, the probability of contracting it again is low.

Age also plays an important role. The younger you are, the less likely you're to develop severe symptoms. 

Additional read: Brain Fog After COVID-19 Treatment

Are Current Vaccines Sufficient to Provide Immunity against Omicron Sub-Variant BA.5? 

  • At this point, people have burning questions about whether or not the previously taken vaccines can provide immunity against the Omicron BA.5 sub-variant. Some experts believe that the Coronavirus new variant, i.e., BA.5 sub-variant, can elude some antibodies produced in the body after vaccinations and being infected by several infections.  
  • In the latter half of June, booster shots were recommended by a committee of expert scientists primarily to provide immunity against the Omicron subvariants, BA.5 and BA.4. These boosters have been planned to be made available to the general public in the latter half of 2022. 
  • Expert scientists are apprehensive of the emergence of another variant by the time the booster dose is made available to the general public. The Omicron variant is most likely to have more mutations than the delta variant. As Omicron is highly transmissible, it is more likely to invade the immune system and affect people who have been previously infected but not vaccinated. 
  • The scientists weren't sure if these mutations would be able to work together. However, scientists are discovering if Omicron BA.5 can reduce some vaccine effects and specific treatments rendered out by monoclonal antibodies. The CDC reported that the booster dose is highly effective in preventing hospitalization due to Covid-19. The older people were given the booster dose first. Then, after seeing progress, younger people were also given the preventive dose. 
Symptoms of Omicron BA.5

How to Protect Yourself from Omicron BA.4 and Omicron BA.5?

  • Scientist Grubaugh emphasizes that citizens should be more aware of variants like Coronavirus and new variant BA.5. They will continue to emerge as the progression of the Coronavirus. He further added that the delta variant was never the last, and neither are any of these variants. There will be newer variants till the Coronavirus outbreak is eradicated. You can only be safe after getting vaccinated.
  • All the scientists are of the unanimous opinion that the best way to be safe from this virus is to take a vaccination. Vaccination keeps the person safe and prevents the virus from getting mutated. Hence, there is a decreased chance of the virus spreading from one person to another. The booster updates are always given on the CDC website, and new recommendations are constantly being updated. 
  • Scientists have repeatedly said that the variants will always remain as long as the virus lives. But yes, medical science has progressed, and new vaccines are on the rise. Also, we should improve our medical facilities to have all the resources to battle with Covid. Unfortunately, Covid will stay within us as an endemic, and we will have to live with it. If you are vaccinated, you won't be severely affected by the new variants as you have all the antibodies and the immunities required to battle it. 

Can Omicron be Detected with Home Tests? 

  • There's no reason to say that at-home Covid tests, including the boxes purchased from the government's website, are less effective. These tests are effective for Omicron BA.5 as it's less dangerous than the previous strains. The FDA suggests that although antigen tests effectively detect the virus, they tend to reduce sensitivity. For Omicron BA.5, the tests are expected to work correctly.
  • In these tests, the positive results are accurate, but the negative ones are also inaccurate. So, we have to keep that in mind while performing home tests. However, vaccinated people and those with booster shots will show negative results if they have Covid. These rapid tests detect a part of Covid virus protein and can detect new variants. 
  • Vaccines based on Omicron BA.5 are mainly regarded for the treatment of booster doses. Therefore, the booster dose will be released as early as possible. People are encouraged to take up the booster dose irrespective of age or eligibility, as it won't harm anybody. 
 Additional read: Yoga for COVID Patients

Symptoms of Omicron BA.5  

As per the current situation, symptoms of Omicron BA.5 are similar to that of the original Omicron. When the Coronavirus's new variant BA.5 affects people, they start showing Omicron BA.5 symptoms like fatigue, runny nose, and sore throat. Back pain has also been a symptom that is noticed quite frequently. The loss of taste and smell are no longer considered symptoms of Covid as they are not witnessed very often. These were common with the alpha, beta, and delta strains. If you notice any of these Omicron BA.5 symptoms above, you should get a test done and rest to prevent further infection. In this way, you also save others from being infected. You can also opt for online doctor consultations for Covid-19 treatment. 

This was all the information about Omicron BA.5. This was a cohesive article about the symptoms of Coronavirus, the new variant BA.5, its causes, background, whether you can test at home, and everything else. 

If you notice any symptoms, you can go to a general physician for help. Yoga also helps a lot during Covid times. Physicians refer to many forms of Yoga for Covid patients. Taking those up will also help you in miraculous ways. Head to Bajaj Finserv Health for more such informative articles.

Published on 2 Sep 2022Last updated on 17 Feb 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


Health Videos

Mobile Frame
Download our app

Download the Bajaj Health App

Stay Up-to-date with Health Trends. Read latest blogs on health and wellness. Know More!

Get the link to download the app

Google PlayApp store