The Omicron-variant has been rapidly taking over the world and may become the dominant variant in the coming weeks.
While the new variant strikes fear into the hearts of people, it was reported that the Omicron-variant has a ‘sister’ lineage, which is genetically similar to the super-mutant causing chaos in South Africa.
In a report by Daily Mail, it is said that scientists had found a ‘sister’ lineage of Omicron, but one key difference of the Omicron-like subvariant is that it is missing a genetic quirk that allows officials to quickly track its spread.
Virologists say the version, currently being called BA.2, has already been identified in South Africa, Australia and Canada.
However, there are no firm details about the near-identical strain and its true origin remains a mystery.
Meanwhile, the Australian officials has raised the alarm about the BA.2, saying it is the ‘first in the world’. The BA.2 is being detected in a South African man who returned from the country’s Omicron ground zero of Gauteng.
It was reported that the preliminary analysis suggests it contained its own set of mutations as well as many found in the original Omicron.
Hence, it would mean the BA.2 is similar to the original Omicron, which can be more transmissible than Delta, and possibly able to dodge vaccines.
However, there is no concrete evidence of BA.2 being publish yet and it was only thrown into the public spotlight by Queensland health officials recently.
Nonetheless, one key difference of the Omicron-like lineage being reported is that it cannot be detected almost immediately.
This is mainly due to the absence of the S gene dropout in BA.2 and this aspect of the original Omicron means it can be detected using a PCR test, as opposed to more complicated lab analysis.
This also meant that this shortcut cannot be used, and thus harder to track as an outbreak.
The matter was being confirmed by the Queensland’s health minister Yvette D’Ath in a press conference on Wednesday (8 December).
“We are standing here announcing a new version of Omicron and it’s a first in the world.” she said.
“It has enough genes to be classified as Omicron, but we don’t know enough about it for what that means as far as clinical severity, vaccine effectiveness.”
“What we do know is that Omicron is more infectious and more transmissible.” she added.
With this, it is best for us to comply with the SOPs at all times to reduce the possibility of getting infected. Stay safe!