By the end of 2021, the rise in Covid-19 cases was observed all over the world due to its new variant called Omicron. Although the Omicron variant cases of Covid-19 seem to have come under control, scientists have observed the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19. According to a report by Nature, cases of a sub-variant of Omicron, known as BA.2, have spread rapidly in countries including Denmark, the Philippines and South Africa in the past few weeks.
The recent surge in the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron follows the initial spread of the BA.1 Omicron variant of Covid-19, which was first identified in southern Africa in late November 2021 and quickly spread worldwide.
Before we delve deeper into the details of variants and sub-variant, it is essential to understand what they are. The Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the University of Queensland, Paul Griffin mentioned in a study published in The Conversation that Covid-19 is an RNA virus that makes lots of mistakes when they reproduce. Since this virus cannot correct these mistakes, they have a relatively high rate of errors, or mutations, and are constantly evolving. When the genetic code of a virus changes as a result of these mutations, it is referred to as a variant, mentioned Griffin.
According to a report by Nature, a laboratory study of the BA.2 sub-variant suggests that its rapid increase is probably the result of it being more transmissible than BA.1. Other preliminary studies have also suggested that BA.2 can readily overcome immunity from vaccination and previous infection with earlier variants, although it is not much better than BA.1 at doing so.
However, BA.2 has not been classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern,” like the Omicron. The United Kingdom labelled BA.2 a variant “under investigation,” one that is being watched closely.
Keywords: Coronavirus, Health, COVID-19, Omicron, BA.2 Sub variant
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