Differences in Clinical Presentations of Omicron Infections with the Lineages BA.2 and BA.5 in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, between April and July 2022
Knowledge on differences in the severity and symptoms of infections with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants BA.2 (Pango lineage B.1.529.2) and BA.5 (Pango lineage B.1.529.5) is still scarce. We investigated epidemiological data available from the public health authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Northeast Germany, between April and July 2022 retrospectively. Comparative analyses revealed significant differences between recorded symptoms of BA.2 and BA.5 infected individuals and found strong correlations of associations between symptoms. In particular, the symptoms ‘chills or sweating’, ‘freeze’ and ‘runny nose’ were more frequently reported in BA.2 infections. In contrast, ‘other clinical symptoms’ appeared more frequently in Omicron infections with BA.5. However, the results obtained in this study provide no evidence that BA.5 has a higher pathogenicity or causes a more severe course of infection than BA.2. To our knowledge, this is the first report on clinical differences between the current Omicron variants BA.2 and BA.5 using public health data. Our study highlights the value of timely investigations of data collected by public health authorities to gather detailed information on the clinical presentation of different SARS-CoV-2 subvariants at an early stage.