Omicron “stealth” spreads to 67 countries, the risk of global overwhelming

Omicron “stealth” spreads to 67 countries, the risk of global overwhelming

Omicron’s sub-lineage mutation, BA.2, has now spread to 67 countries and is in danger of “overtaking“ the original to become a global dominant variant.

Newsweek reports that BA.2, the strain dubbed “stealth Omicron”, is spreading rapidly in Europe and Asia. It has now been detected in 67 countries.

Since its appearance, Omicron has produced 4 sublineage strains including BA.1, BA.2, BA.1.1.529 and BA.3. They all have genetic similarities, but each has mutations that can change the way they work.

The most popular strain is currently BA.1 but BA.2 is showing signs of “overtaking” this relative strain. A study in Denmark showed that BA.2 seems to be about 1.5 times more infectious than BA.1 .

Version BA.1 of the Omicron variant is easier to track than previous variants because it is missing one of the three target genes used in conventional PCR tests. However, BA.2, also known as the “stealth strain”, is not the same as BA.1. So it’s harder to detect, and scientists have to track it like they tracked previous strains, based on the number of viral genes submitted to infectious disease databases.

Dr. Dorit Nitzan from the World Health Organization ( WHO), warns that BA.2 will become the next dominant strain in the world, as it has dominated in Denmark and the UK for some time. . However, Denmark has not yet recorded an increased incidence of severe illness due to BA.2. Even so, with the ability to spread more easily, BA.2 is still very dangerous because it can still overload the health system.

Facing the global threat from BA.2, experts recommend that vaccines are still the most effective “weapon” to prevent the risk of serious illness and death. Some recent studies have shown the effectiveness of the Omicron pre-mutation booster.

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