The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely tracking a new version of the omicron variant.
It is known as BA. 2.
Scientists are referring to the original omicron variant as BA. 1.
It should be noted that BA. 2 is not a new variant, but rather a descendant of omicron.
The new version has been detected in India, Denmark, Britain, the United States, and other countries.
It appears to be most widespread in Denmark and has become the dominant form of the virus there.
There are a handful of confirmed cases in the U.S., including in Texas and Washington state.
Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas is studying the genetic makeup of virus samples from patients.
Some doctors are dubbing BA. 2 as “stealth omicron” because it is difficult to identify on PCR tests.
The WHO has directed officials to investigate BA. 2’s characteristics and whether it is as contagious as the original variant.
There is no evidence currently that shows that BA. 2 is more contagious or more severe.
British virologist Tom Peacock of the Imperial Department of Infectious Disease tweeted that data suggests current vaccines will be effective against BA. 2.