A study of BA.2 subvariant
A study of BA.2 subvariants shows signs of severity. New research suggests that it could cause severe diseases and appear to be capable against vaccines.
Japan conducted tests on the BA.2 sublineage and discovered features showing that is also capable of causing illness. Like Omicron, appears to be immune to immunizations to a great extent. A booster dose restores protection, reducing the likelihood of infection-related sickness by 74%. BA.2 is also resistant to various therapies, including the monoclonal antibody sotrovimab, which is now being utilized to treat Omicron.
The findings were published as preprint research on the bioRxiv platform on Wednesday, pending peer review. Normally, independent specialists review a study before it is published in a medical publication. Preprints allow researchers to disseminate their findings more rapidly, but they are published before the final review process.
“It might be, from a human’s perspective, a worse virus than BA.1 and might be able to transmit better and cause worse disease,” says Dr. Daniel Rhoads. He is the head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Rhoads reviewed the study but was not involved in the research.
When compared to the original Covid-causing virus that arose in Wuhan, China, BA.2 has a lot of mutations. It also features hundreds of gene modifications from the original Omicron strain. This has made it different from the most recent pandemic virus as the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta versions.
According to the findings, BA.2 should not be regarded as a form of Omicron and should be properly watched, according to Kei Sato, a researcher at the University of Tokyo who led the study.
“As you may know, BA.2 is called ‘stealth Omicron,’ ” Sato told CNN. That’s because it doesn’t show up on PCR tests as an S-gene target failure, the way Omicron does. Labs, therefore, have to take an extra step and sequence the virus to find this variant.
“Establishing a method to detect BA.2 specifically would be the first thing” many countries need to do, he says.
“It looks like we might be looking at a new Greek letter here,” agreed Deborah Fuller, a virologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, who reviewed the study but was not part of the research.
Further study of the BA.2 subvariant is on the way
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