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For the foreseeable future, the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 will continue evolving into new variants that lead to waves of infections. In 2020 and 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the emergence of variants of concern by giving them names from the Greek alphabet. But this year, Omicron has remained in the spotlight, with members of its family — subvariants — fuelling surges as they evade antibodies that people have generated from previous infections and vaccines. For example, the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 is gaining ground in North America, now accounting for about 26% of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes submitted to the GISAID data initiative, and BA.4 and BA.5 are spreading rapidly in South Africa, comprising more than 90% of genomes sequenced.