31 Jan 2022
Scientists on Alert of New COVID-19 Variant ‘Stealth’ Over Rising Cases
The Index Today
Scientists are now tracking a rise in cases caused by a close cousin known as Stealth variant or BA.2, which is starting to outcompete Omicron BA.1 in parts of Europe and Asia.
According to the public virus tracking database GISAID as of January 25, shows that Omicron (BA.1) is accounted for 98.8 per cent of sequenced cases globally. Data from the World Health Organization shows that several countries are reporting recent increases in the sub variant known as BA.2.
Trevor Bedford, a computational virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center who has been tracking the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, wrote on Twitter on Friday that “BA.2 represents roughly 82% of cases in Denmark, 9 per cent in the UK and 8 per cent in the United States, based on his analysis of sequencing data from the GISAID database and case counts from the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.”
According to some early reports, it indicate that BA.2 may be even more infectious than the already extremely contagious BA.1, but there is no evidence so far that it is more likely to evade vaccine protection.
Danish health officials estimate that BA.2 may be 1.5 times more transmissible than BA.1, based on preliminary data, though it likely does not cause more severe disease.