GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — A sub-variant of the extremely contagious Omicron coronavirus pressure, which some research point out could possibly be much more infectious than the unique model, has been detected in 57 international locations, the WHO stated Tuesday.
The fast-spreading and closely mutated Omicron variant has quickly change into the dominant variant worldwide because it was first detected in southern Africa 10 weeks in the past.
In its weekly epidemiological replace, the World Well being Group stated that the variant, which accounts for over 93 % of all coronavirus specimens collected prior to now month, counts a number of sub-lineages: BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3.
The BA.1 and BA.1.1 — the primary variations recognized — nonetheless account for over 96 % of all of the Omicron sequences uploaded to the GISAID world science initiative, it stated.
However there was a transparent rise in instances involving BA.2, which counts a number of completely different mutations from the unique — together with on the spike protein that dots the virus’s floor and is essential to coming into human cells.
“BA.2- designated sequences have been submitted to GISAID from 57 international locations thus far,” WHO stated, including that in some international locations, the sub-variant now accounted for over half of all Omicron sequences gathered.
The UN well being company stated little was recognized but concerning the variations between the sub-variants, and known as for research into its traits, together with its transmissibility, how good it’s at dodging immune protections and its virulence.
A number of latest research have hinted that BA.2 is extra infectious than the unique Omicron.
Maria Van Kerkhove, one of many WHO’s high consultants on Covid, informed reporters Tuesday that details about the sub-variant was very restricted, however that some inital knowledge indicated BA.2 had “a slight improve in development charge over BA.1”
Omicron typically is understood to trigger much less extreme illness than earlier coronavirus variants which have wreaked havoc, like Delta, and Van Kerkhove stated there to date was “no indication that there’s a change in severity” within the BA.2 sub-variant.
She confused although that whatever the pressure, Covid remained a harmful illness and folks ought to try to keep away from catching it.
“We want individuals to bear in mind that this virus is constant to flow into and its persevering with to evolve,” she stated.
“It’s actually vital that we take measures to cut back our publicity to this virus, whichever variant is circulating.”
© Agence France-Presse