The World Health Organization said Monday it will be tracking two new omicron variant subvariants to see whether or not they are more transmissible and dangerous for the global population.

Driving the news: The WHO said it will investigate the dozens of cases of the new omicron subvariants — BA.4 and BA.5 — to its monitoring list, per Reuters.

  • It has already been tracking BA.1 and BA.2, which have become dominant strains of COVID-19.
  • The WHO has already been looking at BA.1.1 and BA.3 subvariants, too.

Details: There have been multiple cases of BA.4 found in South Africa, Denmark, Botswana, Scotland and England, according to New York Post.

  • The cases were discovered from Jan. 10 to March 30. 
  • BA.5, meanwhile, has been found in South Africa and Botswana.

What they’re saying: The WHO said it will look at these subvariants because “additional mutations that need to be further studied to understand their impact on immune escape potential,” per Reuters.

  • UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said BA.4 and BA.5 are subtypes of the omicron variant and that it is spreading fast, according to WION News.
  • The BA.5 variant has the same mutations as BA.4.
  • “Although the number of total genomes is small, the apparent geographic spread suggests that the variant is transmitting successfully,” UKHSA said, per WION News.