Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert
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Nicknamed as “stealth”, the new Omicron subvariant has first appeared in parts of Europe and Asia. The main European hub fuelled by a surge in Omicron BA.2 cases has been Denmark. Now, the highly transmissible strain accounts for the majority of the infections in the UK.
According to The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) scientists, Omicron BA.2 now makes up 52 percent of all Covid infections in the UK.
This data was recorded for the seven days leading to 20 February.
Two weeks before that, the Covid variant only accounted for 19 percent of all cases.
This brings the stealth variant to dominance just a month after it was first identified in the UK.
However, experts have shared that the new strain doesn’t appear to be more lethal.
For example, Omicron BA.2 accounts for the majority of cases in Denmark with no significant effect on hospitalisations and deaths.
But there are certain aspects of the new strain that differ from the original Omicron.
For one, it seems to be even more transmissible than Omicron BA.1, as reported by UKHSA.
Japanese research has looked more at this variant and its severity, researching infected hamsters.
The findings from the researchers at the University of Tokyo suggest that Omicron BA.2 could cause more severe disease.
In the hamster models, the now dominant subvariant was able to trigger more significant lung damage.
What’s more, the study also shared that the strain might be able to dodge some treatments and be more resistant to the vaccine immunity.
Previous evidence suggests the Covid jabs are proven to be “effective” against serious infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new study is to be peer-reviewed for publication in a medical journal.
What are the symptoms of Omicron BA.2?
There’s not an official list of symptoms linked directly to the new subvariant.
However, some experts have noted that Omicron BA.2 will likely present the same symptoms as Omicron BA.1.
According to expert and patient reports, Omicron infection causes symptoms including:
- Scratchy throat
- Mild muscle aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Dry cough
- Night sweats
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms are different from the NHS list, consisting of cough, high temperature and loss or change to taste and smell.
This is because the research from the ZOE COVID Study app has noticed that only half of the Omicron patients experienced these classic three. While others reported the prevalence of other symptoms.
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