Omicron subvariant BA.5 more virulent, study in mice finds

Updated: Sep 26 2023 2:29PM

New Delhi, Sep 26 (PTI) Scientists have used engineered mice to compare SARS-COV-2 Omicron subvariants and found that the BA.5 strain was more virulent likely due to its ability to rapidly replicate early during infection.

The research, published in the journal Science Advances, addresses a challenge to studying and understanding rapidly evolving variants of concern due to a lack of animal models for running tests that could help explain why variants and subvariants each behave differently in people.

The genetically modified mice, called K18-hACE2, used in the research express a human receptor that allowed SARS-COV-2 to enter otherwise inaccessible mouse cells.