BA.2 Omicron Sub-Strain detected in over 40 countries | Daily News

BA.2 Omicron Sub-Strain detected in over 40 countries

* Omicron now in 171 countries
* WHO to bring global system to update COVID shots based on flu jab

UK, SWITZERLAND: The UK has said that a new sub-strain of the Omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected in over 40 countries which can escape even the RT-PCR test. The BA.2 sub-strain, commonly called the “stealth Omicron", has caused fears of a stronger wave across Europe.

According to the World Health Organisation, the Omicron variant has three sub-strains -- BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. While the BA.1 sub-strain is dominant among the Omicron infections reported across the world, the BA.2 sub-strain is spreading quickly.

For instance, Denmark reported on January 20 that the BA.2 sub-strain accounts for almost half of the country’s active cases. Apart from the UK and Denmark, cases of BA.2 sub-strain have been detected in Sweden, Norway, and India. Scientists in India and France have also warned about the sub-strain, fearing it might outpace the BA.1 sub-strain.

According to researchers, even as the BA.2 sub-strain shares 32 strains with BA.1, there may be more than 28 unique mutations to it, read a report in Fortune.

Meanwhile, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been identified in 171 countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

In its latest technical brief, the global health body said that Omicron is soon set to replace Delta globally as a result of its immunity evading potential.

It stated that Omicron has been found to have a significant growth advantage, higher secondary attack rates, and a higher observed reproduction number compared to Delta.

"As of January 20, the Omicron variant has been identified in 171 countries. The variant has rapidly outpaced Delta in most countries, driving an upsurge of cases in all regions.

"Omicron has a substantial growth advantage over Delta, and it is rapidly replacing Delta globally," the brief said.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is working to devise a central system to update COVID vaccines, much like the current process used for flu jabs, the media reported.

The strategy emulates a system currently used to decide on “strain updates” for flu shots, which are updated every six months, The Telegraph reported.

The plans for a global system are based on mounting concerns that a fragmented approach to future-proofing COVID shots would be counterproductive, reduce manufacturing capacity, exacerbate vaccine hesitancy, and worsen already vast imbalances in access to jabs worldwide, the report said. - INFIAN EXPRESS, THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS

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