What does the COVID ‘variant soup’ mean for the Asia-Pacific region as travel ramps up?

As Australia anticipates a fourth wave the Asia-Pacific region has been served up what has been dubbed a “COVID variant soup”.

This soup is a mix of subvariants vying for dominance according to Sanjaya Senanayake from the Australian National University Medical School.

“It’s all still Omicron, but it’s these new subvariants. So they’re going to challenge our immune system, and we will see an increase in cases,” Dr Senanayake said.

“But hopefully, because of our hybrid immunity, it should be a short, sharp wave in terms of both cases and hospitalizations.”

The COVID variant “swarm” or soup adds a complexity that makes waves harder to predict, according to the science journal Nature.

The current state of the virus is varied across our region; as Singapore comes down from the crest of a wave fueled by the variant XXB, Japan is seeing an uptick in cases.

Case numbers appear to be fairly stable in South-East Asian countries, where many Australians might travel over the upcoming holiday period.


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