A brand new Danish examine has confirmed that the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron is rather more infectious than the ‘authentic’ BA.1 lineage, which was itself transmissible sufficient to gas a brand new wave of infections world wide.
How rather more transmissible is BA.2?
The brand new analysis, performed by scientists from Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Copenhagen College, Statistics Denmark and Technical College of Denmark, has proven that the fast unfold of BA.2 could possibly be linked to its
“inherent elevated transmissibility”. BA.2 is already the dominant Covid pressure in Denmark. Seattle-based virologist Trevor Bedford, who’s monitoring the emergence of latest Covid variants, not too long ago stated that, whereas the ‘authentic’ Omicron pressure stays dominant on this planet, its subvariant BA.2 “has grow to be predominant in Denmark and India, and is spreading elsewhere.” Certainly, the subvariant has already been reported in a number of nations, together with the US and the UK. “In every nation and throughout time” the epidemic development price of BA.2 is larger than that of BA.1, Bedford noted.
Is it extra harmful?
Based on the Danish paper, which has but to be peer-reviewed, the chance of catching BA.2 after being uncovered to it throughout the family is 39%, some 10% greater than BA.1.
The examine’s lead creator Frederik Plesner clarified to Reuters that these numbers recommend that BA.2 is about 33% extra infectious than BA.1. The researchers additionally famous indications that BA.2 has higher “immune evasive properties” than BA.1, given it was comparatively higher at infecting vaccinated individuals. These properties, the scientists conclude, “additional scale back the protecting impact of vaccination in opposition to an infection.” Nonetheless, vaccinated and vaccine-boosted individuals had been much less prone to be contaminated with both substrain than an individual who was not inoculated in opposition to Covid. There may be excellent news from the Danish analysis: apparently BA.1 is just not related to an elevated danger of hospitalization. As Danish Well being Minister Magnus Heunicke stated final week, “there isn’t any proof that the BA.2 variant causes extra illness,” regardless of it being extra contagious.
Are there different variants of Omicron?
The primary identified model of Omicron is known as B.1.1.529 and was named a variant of concern by the World Well being Group (WHO) on November 26. It has since been discovered to have mutated into various strains: BA.1, accountable up to now for greater than 98% of all identified Omicron circumstances and which is well identifiable on account of it missing one of many goal genes in PCR testing; and BA.2, which, in Bedford’s phrases, is now
One other Omicron subvariant, known as BA.3, has additionally been recognized however, in the mean time, is just not spreading as quick as any of its closest ‘family members.’
The 4 Omicron lineages (B.1.1.529, BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3) are being carefully monitored by the WHO, which has warned that “the general danger associated to Omicron stays very excessive.”