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BA.2 emerges as major variant causing global COVID-19

The BA.2 subline of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is currently the leading cause of COVID-19 cases worldwide, especially in Europe and Asia, raising concerns about a possible new outbreak in the United States.

what we know so far

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), BA.2 currently causes 86% of all COVID-19 cases for which the causative virus has been sequenced. BA.2 may spread much faster than its “brothers” BA.1 and BA.1.1. However, evidence so far suggests that this variant may not cause serious disease.

As with other sublines of the Omicron family, vaccines against BA.2 are not as effective as earlier variants such as Alpha or the parental line of SARS-CoV-2, and protection wanes over time. However, booster doses should restore levels of vaccine protection, especially in reducing the risk of hospitalisation and death, according to the UK’s Health Safety Agency (HSA).

BA.2 is called the “stealth” variant because it is difficult to spot. BA.2 and its other “brother” BA.3 – also appearing more and more – can only be detected by genetic sequencing, which is not available in all countries. OK. Performance. The main question for BA.2 is whether this variant can cause reinfection in people already infected with BA.1. However, data from the UK and Denmark suggest that while people infected with another variant (such as Delta) can be re-infected with Omicron, only a minority of people who are re-infected with BA.2 will become infected with BA. first.

To explain the recent increase in BA.2 infections, scientists attribute the situation to neglect of basic preventive measures. “BA.2 spreads when people stop wearing masks,” said Dr. Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Whatever the reason for the rise in BA.2 cases, scientists say it’s a reminder that the virus continues to cause harm, especially in the unvaccinated population. and fragile. pain.

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