Omicron Subvariant BA.2 Likely to be as Severe as ‘Original’: WHO

Story Highlights
  • WHO suspects detection of BA.2 variant in 57 countries.
  • Top health body cites emerging variant as severe as original.
  • Sub-lineages of fast spreading Omicron have been detected in several sampled.

Geneva: Studies claim the sub-variant of the South African variant is suspected to have similar severity like its original form. The emerging BA.2 form of the Omicron coronavirus variant does not seem to be any more severe than the original BA.1 form, an official of the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

Cautioning the nations lifting COVID curbs, WHO Chief Tedros said, “It’s premature for any country either to surrender or to declare victory. This virus is dangerous, and it continues to evolve before our very eyes. WHO is currently tracking four sub-lineages of the Omicron variant, including BA.2.”

 The comments from WHO officials came as the BA.2 version of Omicron began replacing its original form across 57 countries. Studies by WHO have stated that both the mutations differ by 40 per cent. BA.2 was first detected in South Africa in December.

Releasing a weekly epidemiological update, the organization said the South African variant accounted for 93 per cent of all coronavirus specimens collected in the last month. Sub lineages: BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3 have been significantly detected, the top world body added.

Several studies by WHO has claimed that the emerging sub-variants are different in transmissibility and presentation. The UN health agency said that further analysis into the characteristics hasve been called to identify the capability of the virus to dodge immune protections and its virulence.

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