- According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, over 50 cases of a new Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 have been discovered (PHAC).
- The BA.2 sub-lineage is widely regarded as “stealthier” than the authentic version of Omicron because some genetic traits make it much harder to detect.
Over 50 cases of a new Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 have been discovered, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
PHAC affirmed 51 cases of the BA.2 subvariant in Canada, mostly from international travelers, in an emailed declaration to CTVNews.ca on Wednesday.
According to GISAID, a global coronavirus data-sharing platform, BA.2 is a descendant of the highly infectious Omicron variant, and it has been discovered in at least 40 nations as of Wednesday.
The Public Health Agency of Canada stated it is monitoring BA.2, as it is with all new COVID-19 variants, and that Canadians must continue to follow public health officials’ advice.
“While the impact of all variants is still being assessed in Canada, the Government of Canada recognizes that vaccination, in conjunction with public health and individual measures, is critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” PHAC said.
BA.2 was discovered for the first time in November 2021 in the United Kingdom. On Friday, it was designated as a “variant under investigation,” with the possibility of a growth advantage.
While the WHO has not yet designated BA.2 as a “variant of concern,” it keeps track of the sub-spread. lineage’s
BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, and BA.3 are the four sub-lineages of the Omicron variant B.1.1.529.
Because some of its genetic traits make it much harder to detect, the BA.2 sub-lineage is widely regarded as “stealthier” than the authentic version of Omicron. Some scientists think it may be more contagious, but they acknowledge many unknowns about the subvariant.
According to PHAC, BA.2 shares “many similarities” with BA.1 but has some differences, including mutations that could affect transmissibility, detection, and possibly immune escape.
“There is very confined evidence to determine how impactful the differences between BA.1 and BA.2 may be at this time,” PHAC stated in a statement. “Hence the ongoing attempts by PHAC scientists to monitor instances here in Canada and track developments internationally.”
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious infection expert, said there is still a “significant degree of uncertainty” surrounding BA.2. Still, the subvariant is worth monitoring as more cases are reported around the world.
“In Canada, for example, we have a lot of BA.1, as well as BA.2. Interestingly, BA.2 is growing in other jurisdictions, whereas BA.1 may be declining. “On Wednesday, Bogoch informed CTV News Channel. “For the time being, it’s something to keep an eye on.”
Bogoch, despite this, stated that Canadians must not be worried. COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness against BA.2 will most likely be “very similar” to that of the BA.1 sub-lineage, he said.
“It’s not the same [as BA.1], but there are probably a lot of other similarities,” Bogoch said.
“I believe it is too early to know exactly how this manifests,” he added, “and we need to learn more.”
Source: CTV News
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