New transform easier to transmit than Omicron
It is rapidly outstripping other Omicron subspecies and raising fears that a more transmissible strain of Covid is actively circulating in the community.
The UK Health Security Agency, recently, designated BA.2 as a variant under investigation.
“53 sequences of the BA.2 subline of Omicron have been identified in the United Kingdom,” it said in a statement.
“This subline, designated by Pangolin on December 6, has no loss of the gene mutation at 69-70 causing S gene target failure (SGTF). This line has previously been used as a representative for detect Omicron cases. .
“UKHSA is continuing to closely monitor data on the BA.2 sub-lineage,” the statement said.
Dr Meera Chand, UKHSA Incident Director, said: “The nature of viruses is to evolve and mutate, so we can expect that we will continue to see new variants emerge as we modernize. translation continues”.
“Our continuous genomic surveillance allows us to detect them and assess if they are significant,” she added.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron, also known as B.1.1.529, has three main substrates namely BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3.
So far, BA.1 is dominating with WHO estimating it to account for the majority of all Omicron cases.
In some places, however, BA.2 has begun to spread more rapidly, the report said.
In Denmark, it currently accounts for almost half of all Omicron cases. Other countries such as Norway and Sweden are also seeing an increase in BA.2 cases, although not to the same extent.
“Initial analysis showed no difference in hospital admissions for BA.2 versus BA.1,” said Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut, a government-run infectious disease research center, said in a statement.
“Analyses regarding the infectivity and efficacy of vaccines etc. are underway, including efforts to culture BA.2 to perform antibody neutralization studies.”
The institute states that the vaccine can be effective against severe illness caused by BA.2 infection.