BA.2 is a new Omicron version of SARS-CoV-2. Experts aren’t sure if it will cause any harm, but they do know that it is rapidly spreading and that there are 20 mutations in an area most COVID-19 vaccines cannot reach.
All statistics and data are based upon publicly available data as of the publication date. Some information might be out-of-date. For the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our coronavirus hub. Follow our live updates page.
In December 2021, scientists discovered Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant in India and South Africa. It has since spread to many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
The subvariant virus has also rapidly spread in Denmark. It accounted for 20% to 45% of all COVID-19-related cases in the country during week 52 of 2021.
Initial analyses have not shown any difference in hospitalizations between Omicron’s original Omicron form and the BA.2 subvariant, despite its rapid spread across the country.
However, studies continue to be conducted to determine the infectivity of BA.2 and how effective vaccines are against it.
BA.2 is not currently considered a “variant or concern”, but U.K. public health officials have been sufficiently interested in its spread to make it a ” variant under investigation”.
Medical News Today interviewed six experts in public and immunology to learn more about this subvariant.
“The Omicron SARS CoV-2 variant has been fascinating to scientists because it (i) has a higher number of mutations […]which allows it to partially evade people’s immune response; (iii] higher transmissibility, pathogenicity, and i.e. its greater ability infect and cause diseases; and (iii] lower virulence. Richard Reithinger (Ph.D.), vice president of global healthcare at RTI International explained.
What we know so far…
Dr. Reithinger said that the Omicron parent lineage is similar to this strain. He expects it to be highly transmissible, and cause less severe disease than the Beta or Delta variants. This is especially true if one has been fully vaccinated and boosted. However, it would need to be confirmed by clinical and laboratory studies. These are expected to report results within the next few weeks.
Should we be concerned?
He stated that “We are concerned that it might escape current vaccines or Omicron BA.1 neutralizing antibodies because it is so distinct.” “We are currently working to determine if current vaccine-induced neutralizing antibody neutralizes it strong>
Dr. Reithinger stated that vaccines exist for protecting against infections, and are highly effective in protecting against severe diseases or death from SARS-CoV-2.
He advised that people consider non-pharmaceutical measures such as handwashing and physical distancing even if they are vaccinated.
Leave a Reply