What is the new Sub-Variant emerging?
Scientists are watching a newly discovered sub-variant of the Omicron coronavirus variant to determine how its emergence could affect the spread of the pandemic in the future.
The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) identified more than 400 cases in the UK in the first 10 days of this month and indicated that the latest variant has been found in about 40 other countries, making up the majority of recent cases in some countries, including India. Denmark and Sweden.
What do the experts say?
On Friday, the UKHSA said it has designated the BA.2 subline as a variant under investigation (VUI) as cases rise, although the BA.1 line currently remains dominant in the UK.
Authorities stressed that “there is still uncertainty about the significance of changes in the viral genome”, which needs to be monitored, as, in parallel, cases of the past few days have shown a sharp increase in the incidence of AD.2, in particular in India. and Denmark. “What surprised us was how quickly this sub-variant, which circulates heavily in Asia, took root in Denmark,” French epidemiologist Antoine Flahaud told AFP.
Scientists must assess how the virus continues to evolve and mutate. Its latest version has not been used to track and compare specific mutations in BA.1 with the previously dominant strain Delta. BA.2 has not been flagged as a worrying option, but Frau said countries need to prepare for the latest developments as scientists step up monitoring. He noted that this did not happen, perhaps due to this sub-variant, which appears to be highly contagious but no more dangerous than BA.1.
“We are interested in whether this [sub-variant] differs from BA.1 in characteristics” in terms of contagiousness and severity, the French public health agency said on Friday. Only a handful of BA.2 cases have been identified in France to date, but the country is monitoring developments as they spread across the English Channel. Flag, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva, says the motto is not panic, but “vigilance” because “at the moment we have the impression that the severity [of the BA.2 case] is comparable to ‘classic Omicron’.” cases.
“But there are a lot of questions on the table” and the need to monitor the properties of the new option on the block. “Early observations from India and Denmark show there is no significant difference in severity compared to BA.1,” Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, tweeted, adding that the latter option should not discuss the effectiveness of existing vaccines.
Peacock noted: “At the moment, we don’t have a clear understanding … how much more transmissibility the BA.2 can be compared to the BA.1. However, we can make some assumptions/first observations.” “There are likely to be minimal differences in the effectiveness of vaccines against BA.1 and BA.2. Personally, I am not sure that BA.2 will have a significant impact on the current wave of the Omicron pandemic,” he added. “Some countries are near or even beyond the peak of the BA.1 waves.
I would be shocked if BA.2 provoked a second wave at this point. Even with slightly higher transmissibility, this is by no means a Delta-Omicron shift, and instead is likely to be slower and more subtle,” he predicted. French Health Minister Olivier Véran said on Thursday that BA.2 does not appear to be a turning point. as variants appear on the scene “quite regularly”. But he indicated that judgment would be retained. “What we know at the moment is that [BA.2] roughly matches the performance we know about Omicron,” notes one.