An immunologist believes the latest strain of COVID-19 is showing a new symptom – intense night sweats that make it difficult to sleep.
Luke O’Neill, a professor of biochemistry at Trinity College in Ireland and member of the COVID-19 Advisory Board, has issued a warning against the severe symptoms from the newly identified strain.
As reported by the Irish Mirror, this new symptom is a result of omicron BA.5 colliding with immune systems, resulting in a “different disease.”
“The night sweats can be so bad that it soddens the night clothes and bedding,” O’Neill said.
“The disease is slightly different because the virus has changed. There is some immunity to it — obviously with the T-cells and so on — and that mix of your immune system and the virus being slightly different might give rise to a slightly different disease, strangely enough – night sweats being a feature,” he added.
But while the available vaccines are still considered the best protection against the virus, O’Neill believes new ones will be developed ahead of the expected winter surge. According to him, Pfizer and Modern will have an omicron vaccine by September, followed by one for BA.4/5 by October.
“So when we get to that point, it would make sense to start using those newer ones. But the current one is still giving good protection anyway. Like the flu, you’ll change the vaccine based on the variant that’s around at the time,” he said.
To that end, experts have also said that much like the other variants from the omicron lineage, BA.5 mainly targets the upper respiratory tract, leading to severe problems in the throat and nose.
At the moment, the BA.5 variant of omicron is the dominant strain in the U.S. since it accounts for about 53% of the total cases of infection in the country.
Fortunately, BA.5 does not appear to have increased in severity, but officials have previously stressed that much needs to be learned about it. Research on the new subvariant is still in its “early days.”