Today: Tuesday, 16 August 2022 year

Omicron subvariant BA.2 more infectious than ‘origin’: Danish study

Omicron subvariant BA.2 more infectious than ‘origin’: Danish study

The Danish researchers have found out that the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus is more transmissible than the more common BA.1 and more able to infect immunized people, CGTN reports.

A Danish study reports on more infection substrain of the omicron, BA.2. According to the analyzis of the COVID-19 cases in more than 8,500 Danish households between December and January, the researchers found an alarming moment. People infected with the BA.2 subvariant were roughly 33 percent more likely to infect others, compared to those infected with BA.1, the study says.

In general, the original BA.1 subvariant accounts for more than 98 percent of Omicron cases, while its close relative BA.2 has quickly become the dominant strain in Denmark, dethroning BA.1 in mid-January.

“We conclude that Omicron BA.2 is inherently substantially more transmissible than BA.1, and that it also possesses immune-evasive properties that further reduce the protective effect of vaccination against infection,” the researchers from the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Copenhagen University, Statistics Denmark and Technical University of Denmark added.

In addition, the study notes that BA.2 is around 33 percent more infectious than BA.1. In fact, the BA.2 infections have also been registered in the UK and the US, Sweden and Norway. The substrain has a much lesser extent than in Denmark, where it accounts for 82 percent of cases.

The subvariant BA.2 was relatively better than BA.1

Despite the difference, preliminary analysis by SSI has shown that the risk of hospitalization for both BA.2 and BA.1 is almost the same. However, the study also showed that BA.2 was relatively better than BA.1 at infecting vaccinated and booster-vaccinated people, indicating greater “immune evasive properties” of the substrain.

An role of inoculation remains important, researchers say. Both booster-vaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals were less like to get infected and transmit either subvariants, compared to those not vaccinated.