New ‘Stealth’ Version of Omicron Variant

New 'Stealth' Version of Omicron Variant

THURSDAY, Jan. 27, 2022

A “stealthier” model of the Omicron variant that has been noticed within the United States and dozens of different international locations is being intently monitored by well being officers and scientists.

The variant, known as BA.2, has genetic traits that make it considerably harder to detect, and a few consultants concern it might even be extra contagious than that unique Omicron variant, CBS News reported.

Nearly 15,000 genetic sequences of BA.2 have been uploaded since November by extra almost 50 international locations to a world platform for sharing coronavirus knowledge, together with 96 sequences from the United States, CBS News reported.

BA.2 seems to be extra widespread in Asia and Europe, and accounted for 45% of all COVID-19 instances in Denmark in mid-January, in contrast with 20% two weeks earlier, CBS News reported.

It’s not recognized but if the brand new variant causes extra extreme illness or if it is higher in a position to evade vaccines, An early evaluation by scientists in Denmark exhibits no variations in hospitalizations between the 2 variations of the variant. Still to be answered are how infectious this newer model is and the way effectively vaccines work towards it. It’s additionally unclear how effectively remedies will fare towards BA.2.

“Thus far, we haven’t seen it start to gain ground” within the United States, Dr. Wesley Long, a pathologist at Houston Methodist in Texas, who has recognized three instances of BA.2, informed CBS News,

“We have some indications that it just may be as contagious or perhaps slightly more contagious than [original] Omicron since it’s able to compete with it in some areas,” Long mentioned. “But we don’t necessarily know why that is.”

To begin with, BA.2 has plenty of mutations. About 20 of them are within the spike protein and are shared with the unique Omicron, however this new model additionally has genetic modifications not seen within the earlier variant.

It’s unclear how vital these mutations are, particularly in a inhabitants that has encountered the unique Omicron, Dr. Jeremy Luban, a virologist on the University of Massachusetts Medical School, informed CBS News,

Luckily, the 2 variations of Omicron have sufficient in widespread that it is doable that an infection with the unique mutant “will give you cross-protection against BA.2,” Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, an infectious ailments skilled at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, informed CBS News,

Given the rise of BA.2 in some international locations, the World Health Organization says investigations of the Omicron variant “should be prioritized,” CBS News reported,

More info

Visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for extra on COVID variants,


Robert Preidt and Robin Foster

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