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Health officials are concerned about the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron

Health officials are concerned about the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron
People wear masks to prevent COVID-19 in New York, USA. Photo: AFP/VNA

Speaking to Fox News, Dr. Fred Davis – Vice President of Emergency Medicine at the Northwell Health network on Long Island, New York – said that so far, no BA.2 sub-variant has been found to cause more severe disease or increase disease. increased risk of hospitalization. Symptoms of BA.2 infection are similar to those of the Omicron variant, milder than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, and include fever, headache, and muscle aches for several days. Similarly, initial evaluations show that the COVID-19 vaccine as well as booster doses are up to 77% effective in preventing serious illness requiring hospitalization.

According to Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, BA.2 is more contagious but does not cause more serious illness than BA.1. The expert warned that areas that have not yet recorded many BA.1 infections are at risk of seeing many BA.2 infections. Mr. Glatt said almost no one was reinfected with BA.1 or BA.2.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BA.2 has been classified as a “worrying variant”. In a recent report, WHO claims initial data shows that BA.2 appears to be more contagious than BA.1 – which remains the most common Omicron sub-variant on record. Studies assessing the risk of reinfection with BA.2 compared with BA.1 have shown that re-infection with BA.2 after BA.1 infection has been reported. However, initial data from population-level reinfection risk studies suggest that people who have been previously infected with BA.1 have stronger antibodies to prevent reinfection with BA.2.

The WHO report also states that preliminary Japanese laboratory data using animal samples that are not immune to SARS-CoV-2 suggests that BA.2 may cause more severe disease in mice. hamster vs. BA.1. However, the report says that actual data collected in South Africa, Denmark and the United Kingdom, where immunity is high from vaccination or viral infection, shows that BA.2 and BA.1 are reported to cause the same degree of disease.

The American Medical Association also says the BA.2 subvariant is called “stealth Omicron” because it lacks Omicron-specific mutations and is difficult to distinguish from the Delta variant using PCR. In the US, US CDC data shows that the stealthy variant Omicron accounts for nearly 25% of new infections across the country. The media cited data collected in the week ending March 12, stating that the number of BA.1 subvariant infections accounted for nearly 66% of the total number of infections in the US, while the number of Omicron infections accounted for almost 11%.

According to the results of COVID-19 screening tests in the past two weeks, the sub-variant BA.2 is continuing to spread strongly in the US. Gene research company Helix has been monitoring BA.2 since the sub-variant first appeared in the US earlier this year. Helix estimates that the number of BA.2 infections accounts for 50-70% of the total number of infections in the country.

In the UK, the data also show that the infection rate in this country increased almost at the same time that the number of BA.2 infections accounted for more than 50% of the total number of infections. To prevent the latest variant, health experts recommend that people get vaccinated as well as booster doses, helping to prevent the disease from getting worse as well as reducing hospitalization rates.

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