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Stealth Omicron: How lethal is it compared to the original Covid variant?

The stealth variant was first spotted in South Africa, Australia and Canada



by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 27 Jan 2022, 8:07 AM

Last updated: Thu 27 Jan 2022, 8:11 AM

At last count, the BA.2 sub-variant has been detected in at least 40 countries

In early December scientists in the United Kingdom (UK) identified a “stealth” version of Omicron that cannot be distinguished from the other variant using the standard RT-PCR test.

The scientists called this the BA.2 sub-variant, which distinguishes it from the dominant BA.1 standard Omicron strain even though it has many mutations in common.

Researchers say it is too early to know whether the new form of Omicron will spread in the same way as the standard Omicron variant.

BA.2 has several mutations, including about 20 of them in the spike protein. Besides, it also has additional genetic changes not seen in the initial version.

Where was the ‘stealth’ variant first spotted?

The stealth variant was first spotted in South Africa, Australia and Canada.

The UK Health Security Agency authorities have found that BA.2 does not contain genetic deletion, which makes it harder to classify positive cases of the new variant as Omicron in PCR tests.

Doctors have pointed out the heartening fact: the new variant does not cause an increase in hospitalisation rates when compared to the original Omicron.

At last count, the BA.2 sub-variant has been detected in at least 40 countries.

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