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COVID

What Is The New Omicron Sub-Variant BA.2

BA.2 is the new omicron subvariant detected in nations around the world

Omicron subvariant, known as stealth omicron is hard to detect in PCR tests

More evidence is needed to detect BA.2 variant severity and symptoms

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
March 30th, 2022
9 mins read

Over the last two years of COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a number of its variants with different severity and symptoms. The latest one being an omicron subvariant, also known as stealth omicron or omicron sub-variant BA.2. It is termed as a subvariant, meaning that it is not very different from omicron in terms of genetics. Omicron first emerged in November 2021 across countries and WHO classified it as a Variant of Concern (VoC). This was because of the impact its mutations have on its behavior. Omicron is also said to be the variant that led the third wave of pandemic in India [1].

The number of cases of omicron subvariant in India and many other nations have been increasing steadily. Based on the global cases submitted to GISAID, the prevalence of omicron sub-variant BA.2 cases in India and other nations across the globe increased to 5% [2]. This is why it becomes essential that you have a better understanding about BA.2 variant severity, symptoms, and more. This will help you better protect yourself and others around you. Read on to know more.

Additional Read: What is Omicron Virus

Omicron Sub-Variant BA.2

How is BA.2 omicron different from BA.1? 

According to WHO, omicron currently has 3 major subvariants – BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. Until recently, a large number of cases reported were of BA.1 but with the emergence of omicron subvariant BA.2, that changed. One of the major differences between BA.1 and BA.2 omicron variants is the mutation. Though BA.2 genetic mutation is not vastly different, the change makes it more transmissible and indetectable. Want to know why is it called stealth omicron? BA.2 omicron subvariant is without the 69-70 spike mutations which makes it difficult to identify the variant in a PCR test. As of result of the subvariant’s ability to be undetectable, it was also named as the stealth variant.

What is the severity of the omicron sub-variant BA.2? 

Based on the evidence and recent data, WHO reinforced BA.2 Variant of Concern classification. The basis this reinforcement was the data available in terms of reinfection, severity, diagnostics, and transmission.

Is omicron sub-variant BA.2 dangerous?

Addressing the BA.2 variant severity, WHO said that without any immunity, the stealth variant may lead to more severe illness. It also said that with high immunity from natural infection or vaccination, there is no difference in severity between BA.2 and BA.1 omicron subvariant [3].

Different types of varients through COVID-19 pandemic

different types of varients

Are vaccines effective against stealth omicron? 

The rising number of cases of stealth omicron indicate that it may have an advantage over the BA.1 variant. But the ability of BA.2 variant to evade the protection provided by vaccines is unclear. However, early data suggests that immunity from vaccination and natural infection helps in protecting against the stealth variant. Based on the limited data available at this time, WHO has also said that an infection from BA.1 provides a strong protection against BA.2 [3].

What are the common BA.2 variant symptoms? 

Based on evidence, WHO suggested that omicron affects not the lungs but upper respiratory tract. But there needs to be more research and data to identify the new omicron subvariant symptoms. The two usual symptoms of stealth omicron reported in the early stages are fatigue and dizziness. You may experience these symptoms within a few days of infection and they may last for a longer period of time. Apart from these, you may experience the following signs if infected with omicron subvariant: 

  • Cough 
  • Fever 
  • Sore throat 
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of BA.2 variant omicron symptoms. You may or may not experience these if you are infected with BA.2. There is also a possibility that you may experience symptoms that are not listed above.

ommon BA.2 variant symptoms

How can you protect yourself from stealth omicron? 

The transmissibility of omicron subvariant is higher that BA.1 variant. As a result of this, it has already caused a spike in the number of infections in various countries. This makes it important to take all the necessary precaution to protect yourself from the stealth variant. Following are some of the precautionary measures you can take: 

  • Get proper vaccination and booster shots 
  • Use face masks and hand sanitizer 
  • Avoid large gatherings 
  • Maintain social distances
  • Be mindful about hygiene
  • Cover the mouth during a cough or a sneeze
  • Follow any other COVID norms set by WHO or government

Additional Read: Child Vaccination in India

With the new omicron virus facts, scientists suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Looking at the surge of cases in nations reporting cases of omicron subvariant, it is important to take all the precautionary measures. If you notice any omicron variant, ba2 symptoms, talk to a doctor immediately. They will guide you on the proper course of treatment for better recovery. Book an online consultation appointment on Bajaj Finserv Health to resolve any concerns about your health. This way you can get answers and treatment without leaving your home. You can also select from the range of test packages to stay ahead of any health conditions. Be proactive and take the necessary steps to keep yourself healthy!

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