WHO Warns Of More Transmissible BA.2 Subvariant Of Omicron
A top official of the World health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over the emrgence of a new Omicron substrain of the coronavirus.
“The virus is evolving and Omicron has several sub-lineages that we are tracking. We have BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3. It’s really quite incredible how Omicron, the latest variant of concern has overtaken Delta around the world,” Maria Van Kerkhove, Covid-19 technical lead at the WHO, said at a news conference Thursday.
“Most of the sequences are this sub-lineage BA.1. We are also seeing an increasing in proportion of sequences of BA.2,” she told reporters.
BA.2 is more transmissible than the other variants, but there is no evidence that it is more lethal than BA.1, according to Maria Van Kerkhove.
But a new research suggests that the Omicron variant not only spreads faster, it may also cause more severe disease.
New lab experiments made by researchers from multiple Universities in Japan show that BA.2 may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as older variants of Covid-19, including Delta.
Statistical analysis shows that the effective reproduction number of BA.2 is 1.4-fold higher than that of BA.1.
The experiments show that the vaccine-induced immunity fails to function against BA.2 like BA.1.
“Cell culture experiments show that BA.2 is more replicative in human nasal epithelial cells and more fusogenic than BA.1. Furthermore, infection experiments using hamsters show that BA.2 is more pathogenic than BA.1. Our multiscale investigations suggest that the risk of BA.2 for global health is potentially higher than that of BA.1,” reads the abstract of the study.
Although the Omicron-led third wave of the coronavirus pandemic is slowing down in the United States, daily Covid death toll crossed the 3000 mark for the second consecutive day.
With 3223 additional deaths reporting on Thursday, the total number of Covid casualties in the country reached 931,741, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
96715 new cases were reported nationwide on the same day, taking the national total to 78,269,443.
U.S. Covid hospitalizations have come down to 78,213, falling by 40 percent in two weeks. Out of this, 14,824 patients are admitted in intensive care units.
51,019,315 people have saso far recovered from the disease, the Worldometere tally shows.
As per the latest data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 214,474,721 Americans, or 64.6 percent of the eligible population, have been administered both doses of Covid vaccine so far. This includes 88.6 percent of people above 65.
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