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The omicron variant of the coronavirus has been dominant in the U.S. since December, but the version of omicron that drove the major infection surge during the winter now accounts for less than 7 percent of new cases.
A more transmissible subvariant, BA.2, accounts for around three-quarters of U.S. cases. And BA.2, in turn, has spawned its own sublineage, BA.2.12.1, which appears to be gaining steam: It rose from 7 percent of U.S. cases in early April to 19 percent last week. The New York State Health Department said last week that BA.2.12.1 was most likely contributing to the state’s rise in case numbers.
So far, the key difference between the newer versions of omicron and the one that previously rocketed through the U.S. is transmissibility. The White House’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has estimated that BA.2 is 50 percent more transmissible than the original omicron lineage.
But the coldlike symptoms vaccinated and boosted people feel as a result of an omicron infection are mostly the same regardless of the subvariant.
“The omicron symptoms have been pretty consistent. There’s less incidence of people losing their sense of taste and smell. In a lot of ways, it’s a bad cold, a lot of respiratory symptoms, stuffy nose, coughing, body aches and fatigue,” said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, the system medical director of infection control and prevention at Henry Ford Health in Detroit.
The Zoe COVID Symptom Study in the U.K. has enabled hundreds of thousands of people to self-report their symptoms through smartphone apps.
One of the apps’ co-founders, Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said that based on Zoe data, a runny nose is still the most common symptom of omicron, followed by fatigue, a sore throat, sneezing and headache.
“The changes from BA.1 to BA.2 have been quite subtle — perhaps runny nose and fatigue [are] going up,” he said.
Spector said 84 percent of people in the U.K. who logged symptoms lately said they had runny noses, compared to around 73 percent in early January. Seventy-two percent said they had fatigue, up from 68 percent during the first omicron wave.
But it’s hard to attribute those changes directly to a subvariant, Spector said, because there are many confounding factors.
BA.1 and BA.2 are about as genetically similar as delta was to alpha, experts said. Differences between the subvariants could influence the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody treatments.
“We know even with BA.1 and BA.2, which are both subtypes of omicron, that different monoclonal antibodies work for one but don’t work for the other,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
But experts generally agree that the public shouldn’t worry too much about the emergence of each omicron subvariant.
UPMB currently has a Network of 313 faith based private not for profit health facilities (including Hospitals, Health Facilities and 18 Health Training Institutions) spanning over five decades of experience in serving vulnerable communities in Uganda with a common goal of providing preventive, promotive, curative, and rehabilitative affordable, good quality health care to Ugandans regardless of ethnicity and religious creed. Their presence is strong in rural areas reaching the most marginalized and vulnerable groups of society.
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The Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM) and Fertility Awareness (FA) Education project is a partnership between Institute of Reproductive Health (IRH), George University with Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB). The one-year (1st June 2021 to 30th June 2022) project targets women and men of reproductive age with family planning information and methods.
The project goal is to improve access and utilization of FAM services into UPMBs Local Family Planning (FP) Program. The intended objectives include;
The project will be implemented in 3 districts in central region targeting 8 health facilities.
The project is working with Health Workers, VHTs and Religious Leaders to implement the project in the above facilities, communities and Churches.
The Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) – Livelihood Enhancement for West Nile and Acholi (LEWA), is a development project funded by Uganda Government – Office of the Prime Minister with support from European Union (EU). The project is implemented in a consortium led by Lutheran World Federation a long side Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB), Danish Church Aid (DCA), and Mukwano Group of Companies.
The overall objective of project is to improve Livelihoods in West Nile and Northern region through integrated complementary interventions of increased production, marketing, nutrition, and family planning programs.
UPMB contributes to Strong Nutrition and Family Planning Interventions across the five project implementing Districts of Arua, Maracha, Koboko, Madi-Okollo, Yumbe, and only Family planning in four districts of Obongi, Lamwo, Moyo and Adjumani . The project shall be implemented for thirty-six months (10 January 2020 to 31 December 2022).
USAID Uganda Family Planning Activity is a five years (2020-2025) project being implemented by Pathfinder in partnership with Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB). The activity aims to address underlying social, cultural, and structural barriers to family planning access, particularly among adolescents, youth, first-time parents, and low-parity women in 11 districts across Uganda.
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