While the omicron COVID-19 variety continues to spread over the world, scientists are also keeping an eye on a new omicron mutation known as BA.2.
BA.2 is not a “variant of concern,” according to the World Health Organization, which means there is no current evidence that it may impair COVID-19 transmission, disease severity, vaccination effectiveness, or public health interventions like masking and social distancing.
BA.2 instances are increasing over the world, with at least 40 nations reporting cases to a worldwide variation monitoring database, but the subvariant has expanded quickly in Denmark and the United Kingdom, with BA.2 accounting for nearly half of recent cases in Denmark.
The subvariant has already been found in numerous places in the United States, with two instances confirmed in Washington State on Monday.
Since November 2021, about 8,000 BA.2 cases have been reported, however it is unknown where BA.2 originated. Despite the fact that the first sequences were presented from the Philippines, instances have been found all across the world, from Europe to South Asia.
Given the increased numbers, health-care groups such as the World Health Organization (WHO) are urging scientists to keep an eye on the new subvariant and see if it acts differently than omicron.
BA.2 presents scientists with some difficulties because it is difficult to trace. According to Florence Débarre, a scientist at the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences in Paris, quoted by Libération, it is difficult to correctly identify BA.2 due to differences in PCR test techniques and the kind of kit used by different laboratories. “The way the examinations are done in the UK doesn’t enable us to discriminate between BA.2 and Delta,” Débarre argues.
The genetic sequencing of the virus is a more precise but less widely utilised approach for tracking variations. This enables for the precise detection of this sub-existence. variant’s However, in France, only a small percentage of laboratory tests are randomly submitted to this more in-depth and costly scrutiny. Sequencing also has the disadvantage of being slow, making it ineffective for tracking a fast spreading variation.
According to Flahault, who was interviewed by La Dépêche, BA.2 is likely to relaunch the pandemic in France. “Every seven days, the number of new cases of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom drops by half France was supposed to follow suit with a two-week postponement, but that did not happen. And this new variation might be to blame for the recent spike in contaminations that we’ve seen.”