What does the COVID-19 ‘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 is been dubbed a “COVID variant soup”.

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

“It’s all still Omicron, but it’s these new sub-variants. 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 hospitalisations.”

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 fuelled 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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