NewsOmicron subtype “BA.2” on the rise: mutant is already...

Omicron subtype “BA.2” on the rise: mutant is already dominant in Denmark

The highly infectious omicron variant is currently driving up the number of people infected with corona. Now a sub-type is causing new concerns.

Paris/Copenhagen – The rapid spread of the highly infectious omicron variant is making things difficult for many countries around the world. Germany is currently particularly affected, where the incidence value exceeded the threshold of 700 for the first time on Friday (January 21, 2022).

Meanwhile, a new omicron subvariant has attracted the attention of scientists. As announced by French Health Minister Olivier Véran, the characteristics of the subtype of the coronavirus known as “BA.2” have not yet been adequately researched. “BA.2” is currently not changing the infection situation, added Véran. Like the delta variant, the omicron variant also produced “little brothers” during its replication: subtypes that differ from the original genome in only one or two mutations. The variant has already been detected in several countries, mainly in Europe.

Omicron subvariant BA.2: Figures from Denmark make you sit up and take notice

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not yet differentiate between Omikron and the sub-variant “BA.2.” However, the latest data from Denmark make us sit up and take notice. In the country where the number of daily infections has been rising again for a few days, “BA.2” is said to be the predominant corona variant.

The proportion of infections with the “BA.2” variant at the end of 2021 in Denmark was almost 20 percent. But now “BA.2” already accounts for almost half of all corona infections. And it looks as if this development will continue in the future.

It is also noteworthy that “BA.2” differs to a large extent from the previous main sub-variant “BA.1”. As the geneticist Ulrich Elling describes on Twitter, a total of 17 mutations can be seen in the “BA.2” variant. “BA.1” and “BA.2” are almost completely identical in one half of the genome, but very different in the other half.

Omicron subvariant “BA.2” overrepresented in boosted

According to Ulrich Elling, the data from Denmark also indicate that the subvariant “BA.2” could be overrepresented, especially among those who were boosted. That would explain why the number of infections in Denmark continues to rise despite the high vaccination and booster rate.

However, it is still unknown how well an infection with BA.1 also protects against infection with “BA.2”. “We have an international situation in which the omicron variant circulates heavily, it is normal that we find sub-variants over time,” the French health authority said. The decisive factor is whether “BA.2” has different characteristics in terms of contagiousness, the immune reaction or the severity of the disease progression. (cs/AFP)

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