Omicron ‘sub-variant’ throws up new virus questions

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Scientists are carefully monitoring the recently discovered subvariants of the Omicron version of the COVID-19 virus to determine how their emergence will affect future pandemic epidemics.

The first Omicron variant has become the predominant strain of virus in recent months, but UK health officials have identified hundreds of cases of the latest version, specifically called BA.2, but international data show that. Suggests that can spread relatively quickly.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) identified more than 400 cases in the UK during the first 10 days of this month and showed that the latest variants were detected in about 40 other countries. India, Denmark, Sweden.

The UKHSA announced on Friday that it has designated the BA.2 subline as the variant (VUI) under investigation, even though the BA.1 line is still predominant in the UK.

Authorities emphasized that “there is still uncertainty about the importance of changes in the viral genome.” In parallel with this, recent cases have seen a sharp increase in the incidence of BA.2, especially in India and Demark.

“What surprised us was the speed at which this subvariant, which is widely distributed in Asia, became established in Denmark,” French epidemiologist Antoine Fraho told AFP.

Scientists need to assess how the virus that caused the worst global health crisis of the first century has evolved and continues to mutate. Its latest incarnation does not have the specific mutation used to track BA.1 and compare it to the previously predominant strain, Delta.

BA.2 has not yet been designated as a variant of concern, but Flahault states that countries need to pay attention to the latest developments as scientists increase surveillance.

“(France) expected a surge in pollution in mid-January. It didn’t happen. Perhaps it was due to this subvariety, which appears to be highly contagious, but more toxic than BA.1. No, “he observed.

“It is interesting to see if this (subvariant) has different characteristics in terms of infectivity and severity from BA.1” on Friday, the French public health agency said.

To date, only a handful of cases of BA.2 have occurred in France, but France is monitoring developments that span the entire channel.

“Equivalent severity”

Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health, University of Geneva, said the watchword was “alert” rather than panic, “for now, the severity of the impression (in the case of BA.2) is comparable to that of the classic variant Omicron. I will do it. “

“But the table has a lot of questions” and we need to monitor the properties of the new variant on the block.

“Very early observations from India and Denmark suggest that there is no dramatic difference in severity compared to BA.1,” tweeted Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London. And added the latest one. Mutant The effectiveness of existing vaccines should not be questioned.

Peacock says, “Currently, we don’t have a strong handle on how much more transmissibility BA.2 has than BA.1, but we can make some speculation / early observations. I emphasized.

He added, “The difference in vaccine efficacy between BA.1 and BA.2 is likely to be minimal. Personally, whether BA.2 has a significant impact on the current pandemic omicron wave. I don’t know.

“Some countries are near or past the peak of the BA.1 wave. I would be very surprised if BA.2 caused the second wave at this point. Slightly higher transmission. But this is not a change in delta omicrons, but rather slower and more likely to be subtle. “

France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran said Thursday that BA.2 did not seem to prove a game changer as it appeared on the scene “quite regularly”. However, he has indicated that he will withhold his decision.

“What we know so far is that (BA.2) corresponds more or less to the properties we know about Omicron.” Mark 1.


WHO: Omicron was detected in 89 countries, doubling the number of cases


© 2022 AFP

Quote: Omicron’s “subvariant” is a new virus question taken from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-omicron-sub-variant-virus.html on January 23, 2022 (2022). January 23) will be thrown

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