Mass. (WWLP) – A highly contagious Omicron subvariant causing new waves of cases in several countries is raising concerns globally. 22News has what you should know about this latest Covid mutation.

The subvariant making its way through the U.S. and other countries is known as BA.5. Recent data from the CDC says that as of July 2nd BA.5 made up nearly 54% of Covid cases here in the United States.

Right now, this is the most contagious subvariant reported to date. 22news spoke with Dr. Armando Paez of Baystate Medical Center about who’s at risk of contracting this strain.

Dr. Armando Paez, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Medical Center said, “This has the mutations that allow it to be more transmissible and can cause re-infection, even if one has gotten Covid in the past.”

Research also suggests that BA.5 is about three times less sensitive to neutralizing antibodies from existing Covid vaccines than the original omicron variant. Still, it’s recommended to stay up-to-date on vaccination to prevent severe illness and death. Although the transmission level is higher with BA.5 there is currently no evidence that it makes people sicker than earlier strains.

The most common symptoms associated with BA.5 to watch for include runny nose, sore throat, headache, persistent cough, and fatigue.