The Omicron variant of the coronavirus already has a new subtype in circulation. The BA.2 strain is spreading rapidly throughout the world and has come to the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO), which has issued an alert and requested priority in investigations into this updated version of the strain.
Ômicron alarmed scientists and health authorities to introduce 5.4 times the risk of reinfection e 70 times faster on air. Moreover, the alternative is Able to evade the immune protection provided by existing vaccines e Can live longer on surfaces.
The BA.2 variant contains a series of genetic changes with respect to BA.1, including the spike protein, which the virus uses to infect human cells. These changes make it dangerous, as most current vaccines focus on the spike protein.
Because of the genetic changes, the sub-variable has been named ‘stealthy omicron’ because it is difficult to identify. BA.1 (the original) contains a mutation that makes it visible in PCR tests, but BA.2 does not. Thus, genetic sequencing is necessary to detect the new version of the strain.
Nevertheless, diagnostic tests remain effective: BA.2 can be determined normally. The mutation only makes it difficult to determine how widespread the strain is.
In Denmark, 65% of new coronavirus infections are already sourced from the BA.2 version of the micron. According to the Danish health authorities, preliminary analyzes did not show an increase in the number of hospitalizations for BA.2 compared to BA.1. Apparently, the underlining is no more or less aggressive than the original micron.
Researchers will test the effectiveness of vaccines-induced antibodies against BA.2. There are no published results yet, but the immunogen is expected to have a positive effect against severe forms of the disease caused by the variant.
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