The recent appearance of the subvariant of omicron called BA.2 It is surrounded by more questions than answers, because despite the fact that it already represents more than 50% of the active cases of COVID-19 in the United States, its properties are still being studied to find out the effects it could cause in the population.
Preliminary studies with people who have already been infected reveal some details of this new subvariant.
Do biologics against COVID-19 protect better against BA.2 than against omicron?
Yes. A report from the United Kingdom Health Security Agency, published last Thursday, January 27, indicates that the effectiveness of the vaccines increases and reaches 70 percent for the BA.2 variant of omicron and 63% for the original strain.
In the United States, the incidence due to omicron is already declining, but the BA.2 sub-variant, also known as the “stealth” or “stealth” variant, is increasing in cases because it is more difficult to diagnose. That is why it has been considered to be as contagious as its original version. However, it is not yet clear if it would generate additional risks to those seen during this last wave or if the World Health Organization will consider it a “worrying variant”.
According to the Statens Serum Institute, in Denmark, another region where BA.2 has become the dominant variant, this form of the coronavirus “Doesn’t seem to be cause for additional alarm at this time.”
The health personnel of this medical center highlighted that despite the fact that it is very contagious, it does not cause a serious infection and, furthermore, it does not escape the immune response of the vaccines, so Biologics are still effective and don’t need to be changed.
“What we know about BA.2 is that it is quite contagious, it doesn’t seem to cause more severe disease and that our Current vaccines will continue to provide protection against severe disease and hospitalization,” said William Schaffner, a specialist at Vanderbilt University in the United States.
To date it is believed that BA.2 produces the same symptoms generated by omicron such as fever, cough, extreme fatigue, tachycardia, headache, throat, and muscle pain, and in some cases, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The most recent recommendations, regarding the subvariant, are to remain alert to the symptoms that could manifest and immediately isolate oneself if one or more is present, since BA.2 it lacks the “S” gene, through which PCR tests track the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the human body. Therefore, false negatives could occur and, therefore, cause outbreaks in the areas where we develop; home, school or work.
The WHO classified the subvariant as of interest (VOI) and not of concern (VOC), as is the case with its contemporary (ómicron), but this does not mean that BA.2 does not pose any danger, but there is still not enough evidence to argue the contrary, so after a few weeks its behavior can be defined.
“Investigations into the characteristics of BA.2, including immune escape properties and virulence, should be prioritized independently (and comparatively) to BA. 1.”