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A new variant of Omicron has been discovered: BA.2 could become a "ghost variant".

A new variant of Omicron has been discovered: BA.2 could become a “ghost variant”.

A new variant of omicron has been discovered
BA.2 can become a ‘hidden variable’.

Similar to Delta, Omikron is constantly evolving. In Denmark, the new BA.2 variant of Omikron is already the dominant variant. Little is known about the sub-variable – but it can lead to a large number of cases among those who have recovered and those who have been vaccinated.

A subtype of the omicron coronavirus variant has attracted the attention of scientists. As French Health Minister Olivier Veran said, the characteristics of the coronavirus subtype known as BA.2 are not well understood. He added that BA.2 currently does not change the injury status. The variant has already been detected in many countries, particularly in Europe.

“There are variations fairly regularly,” Ferran noted. Like the delta variant, the omicron variant also produced “little brothers” during its replication: subtypes that differ from the original genome by only one or two mutations.

Can BA.2 escape the immune system better?

In an interview with RTL, GP Christoph Specht explains his assessment of the new variant: “BA.2 has 17 mutations that distinguish it from the previous omicron variant. That’s quite a lot.” However, the new variant has more in common with Omikron than with alpha, beta or delta. It is still not clear whether BA.2 causes other or more serious symptoms of the disease. Specht RTL explains: “It is assumed that the immune system can escape better than the BA.1 variant. This means that a previous vaccination or infection with another variant is less able to prevent infection.”

The BA.2 variant is also known as a “stealth variant” because it is detected less frequently than omicron in PCR tests. This does not mean that people with BA.2 are no longer noticeable by PCR tests. But: “The thing is indistinguishable from Delta in normal PCR tests,” Specht told RTL.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet differentiated between omicron and the BA.2 subvariable. However, the latest data from Denmark makes you sit up and take notice: BA.2 is said to be the dominant alternative in the country where the number of daily infections has risen again for a few days.

“We have an international situation where the omicron variant is very prevalent, and it is normal that over time we will find sub-variables,” the French health authority explained. The critical factor is whether BA.2 has different characteristics in terms of infection, immune response, or severity of disease progression.

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