Scientists say a new version of the COVID-19 omicron variant has been discovered in the U.S. The new variant, known as BA.2, is a descendant of the omicron mutation.
Dr. Dave Engelthaler of TGen told Arizona’s Family on Tuesday that a few BA.2 cases had been discovered in the state.
So far, it does not appear to differ significantly from the original omicron strain. Dr. Engelthaler claims that since its discovery, omicron has spread faster than delta, but with a lower fatality rate. He hopes that all omicron versions will follow suit. “In reality,” he said, “it’s just another flavor of omicron that appears to be unremarkable.” “The distinctions between the various strains that are currently available.”
TGen has been performing genomic sequencing and tracking how the virus is changing and mutating throughout the pandemic. “Asking how many more variants there are is like asking how long a piece of string is,” Dr. Engelthaler explained. “We don’t know for sure, but it’s most likely ad infinitum because the virus is becoming an endemic pathogen in the human population.”
In the United States, at least three cases have been reported.
They were discovered in patients at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, where virus samples are being studied by researchers. The new version appears to share characteristics with the original, such as the apparent ability to evade preexisting immunity, whether from the virus or vaccinations.
According to the Washington Post, BA.2 has also been dubbed “stealth omicron” because its genetic characteristics make it difficult to detect with a PCR test, which could detect the original version of the variant.
BA.2 has been detected in 40 countries, according to the UK Health Agency, and was first reported in the Philippines. In Denmark, it is the predominant form of the virus.
According to scientists, there is still a lot to learn about the new version.
There is “insufficient” evidence that it causes more severe illness or is more contagious than the original omicron variant as of now.