Jan 27, 2022
By Jane Brown
Scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada are monitoring the spread of a new Omicron subvariant known as BA. 2.
In fact, 51 cases of this Omicron subvariant have been detected in Canada.
At least forty countries have reported cases to a global variant tracking data base, but the subvariant has spread rapidly in Denmark and the UK, with almost half of recent cases in Denmark attributed to BA. 2.
The World Health Organization maintains that BA. 2 in not a variant of concern, meaning there is no current evidence to suggest this new subvariant will worsen COVID-19 transmission, illness severity, or efficacy of vaccines and public health efforts like masking and social distancing.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa says as long as there is transmission of COVID-19, there continues to be the possibility of new variants emerging.
BA. 2 is widely considered more stealthy than the original version of Omicron because particular genetic traits make it somewhat harder to detect.
Some scientists worry it could also be more contagious.
But there are still a lot of unknowns, including whether vaccines are less effective against BA. 2 or if it causes more severe symptoms.