Amid concerns over the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, a new study published on Wednesday found no evidence of any such variants in Beijing after China ended its strict zero-COVID policy. The study, conducted by Chinese researchers who analyzed 413 samples from Beijing, found that more than 90 percent of the cases were of existing Omicron subvariants – BF.7 and BA5.2.
“Our analysis suggests two known Omicron sub-variants — rather than any new variants — have chiefly been responsible for the current surge in Beijing, and likely China as a whole,” said the study’s lead author, George Gao. However, virologists at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University warned that the study only covered a few weeks and may have missed any new variants that emerged later.
Despite these concerns, the researchers were hopeful that the data from the study would lead to greater data sharing and transparency about the scale of the outbreak.