New Lineage Of Omicron, BA.2 Has Been Found

As cases in the United States are receding, vaccination and proper measures have been taken to bring the pandemic situation back to normal. Meanwhile, a new variant of coronavirus, which was reported in Europe, has become the center of attention for scientists. It was first identified in December and spread across nearly 49 countries.

New Lineage Of Omicron, BA.2 Has Been Found

The new variant is found to be a mutation of omicron, nicknamed stealth omicron. The new variant is officially named BA.2, being a sub-variant of omicron it has slight variations but the threat level has been said to be less than the original omicron, though its genetics are the same. Ramon Lorenzo Redondo, assistant professor of medicines for infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, announced that this sub-variant of omicron is showing a higher increase of cases. Similar to the omicron variant of coronavirus, BA.2 has gone through a lot of changes, around 20 modifications in its spike protein.

Will This Pandemic Ever End? New Lineage Of Omicron Has Been Found, BA.2 And Everything You Need To Know.

Normal PCR testing can not detect this virus, unlike other variants, which gave its nickname of stealth virus. It arose concern among the public about being infected by one, but Lorenzo Redondo clarified the doubt saying that FDA-approved testing kits and at-home testing kits should be able to discover this variant, but also other variants of this virus including BA.1, a sub-variant of Omicron. PCR tests generally cannot detect the variant of the virus but only if they are infected with coronavirus or not.  While checking for BA.2 virus, PCR test results were found to be different, unlike normal positive test results, this provided an easy way for scientists to detect this virus without analyzing the sample. Among the infected Americans, omicron accounts for nearly 99.9 percent of the new cases that are reported and it doesn’t affect the way how infections are dealt with by the clinics.

The BA.2 sub-variant must have been evolved, as omicron has affected a large number of people. As viruses are shown to evolve if they spread through major areas, the severity depends on the location it evolved. On the bright side, not every virus mutation is severe. BA.1 has been found to undergo around 50 mutations and among them, 36 are found in spike proteins, which are usually the main targets of the vaccines.

There is no clear proof that BA.2 is more severe or spreads faster like other lineages of omicron. A report released by the United Kingdom’s health agency suggests that vaccines are effective against BA.2, very much similar to omicron. The threat level of this new lineage can be given the same place as omicron and can be treated the same way.

A case study in Denmark showed that BA.2 might be more transmissible and contagious than Omicron. Among the total infections, BA.2 has reported nearly 45% percent and become the dominant variant infecting the country. This shows that BA.2 might be more contagious than the original omicron but it can’t be concluded yet, as more research is needed. BA.2 has been replacing the states which had Omicron as a major infection; it is still unsure whether a similar situation can arise in the United States. Even though BA.2 is shown to be more contagious it doesn’t report any serious hospitalizations or deaths. To be on the safe side, the government has taken enough steps to promote vaccination and safety measures among individuals.

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