Omicron sub-variant BA.2 appears capable of causing severe illness, says new study
A recent lab study suggested that the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant may possess certain features that not only make it more transmissible, but also more capable of causing severe disease.
This comes at a time when several countries are lifting measures put in place to contain the Omicron variant as the recent wave of infections driven by it appears to be waning.
The BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron has spread rapidly in countries including Denmark, Philippines, South Africa and the United Kingdom in the past few weeks.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo, found that similar to BA.1, BA.2 subvariant of Omicron appears to largely escape the immunity induced by COVID-19 vaccines.
The study also said that even though BA.2 is considered an Omicron variant, its genomic sequence is much different from BA.1, suggesting that the virological characteristics of BA.2 differ from that of BA.1.
According to WHO, the BA.2 sub-variant now accounts for roughly one in five new Omicron cases recorded across the world.