Trop Med Infect Dis. 2022 Nov 12;7(11):373. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed7110373.
Our study aims to describe the global distribution and dispersal patterns of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants. Genomic surveillance data were extracted from the CoV-Spectrum platform, searching for BA.1*, BA.2*, BA.3*, BA.4*, and BA.5* variants by geographic region. BA.1* increased in November 2021 in South Africa, with a similar increase across all continents in early December 2021. BA.1* did not reach 100% dominance in all continents. The spread of BA.2*, first described in South Africa, differed greatly by geographic region, in contrast to BA.1*, which followed a similar global expansion, firstly occurring in Asia and subsequently in Africa, Europe, Oceania, and North and South America. BA.4* and BA.5* followed a different pattern, where BA.4* reached high proportions (maximum 60%) only in Africa. BA.5* is currently, by Mid-August 2022, the dominant strain, reaching almost 100% across Europe, which is the first continent aside from Africa to show increasing proportions, and Asia, the Americas, and Oceania are following. The emergence of new variants depends mostly on their selective advantage, translated as enhanced transmissibility and ability to invade people with existing immunity. Describing these patterns is useful for a better understanding of the epidemiology of the VOCs’ transmission and for generating hypotheses about the future of emerging variants.