Saturday, May 21

Covid-19. “BA.2”: this sub-variant of Omicron which worries epidemiologist Antoine Flahault

Like all viruses, Covid is constantly mutating. And this would still be the case for the Omicron variant. A sub-variant called “BA.2” (“BA.1” for the original strain of the Omicron variant) is in circulation in several countries around the world.

This version presents a series of mutations identical to “BA.1”, the version of the Omicron variant known to date, but also presents certain notable differences. This is why “BA.2” is considered as a sub-variant and not as a variant in its own right.

It has been spotted in India, Singapore, Australia, Canada and “it seems responsible for the continuation of the epidemic in Denmark. It could even have become the majority in this country”, affirms, with the newspaper The Midi Dispatch, epidemiologist Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, who does not seem very confident.

This new variant could be the cause of the very recent increase in contamination

“In the United Kingdom, the number of new ones halves every seven days,” explains the professor. “We expected France to follow in the footsteps of the United Kingdom, with a two-week lag: this is not the case. And this new variant could be at the origin of the very recent increase in contaminations that we are observing”, develops Antoine Flahault.

The scientist is formal: this sub-variant of the Omicron line “should be talked about shortly”.

“Little data on its virulence or its ability to escape”

“It’s a variant that seems close, even if for the moment, we have little data on its virulence or its ability to escape”, specifies Antoine Flahault at The Midi Dispatch.

At the origin of 1% of cases in Belgium

‘BA.2’ was also detected in Belgium for the first time on December 26 shortly after the discovery of the ‘BA.1’ version of Omicron.

“BA.2” is the cause of 1.1% of cases in Belgium.

“We can’t even say at this point if it plays in the same league as Omicron’s ‘BA.1’ variant,” said virologist Piet Maes in the Belgian media. “It is also not known at this stage whether the vaccines are as effective against this disease. This too requires further investigation. »

“Stealth Omicron”

This sub-variant of Omicron has also been spotted in Israel: 20 people have tested positive for this variant of the coronavirus.

UK, according to the Daily Express, 53 cases with this sub-variant were detected, Friday, January 14.

It is also called “Stealth Omicron” because this new strain could slip under the radar of the sequencing tools used to date.

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