Scientists inform that the Omicron variant, which first appeared in South Africa and Botswana in 2021, spread quickly and has become predominant worldwide. Because it is so contagious, most people have been vulnerable to this Omicron subtype. Since it appeared, scientists have discovered three major lineages within the new strain: BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. They believe a combination of different viral subtypes may cause more mutations. Here are some more insights into subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 to understand the risks and solutions.
Subvariant BA.2 powerful than BA.1
Unlike BA.1, which shares many mutations with SARS-CoV-2 and is responsible for most current cases, BA.2 has only 3.8% of the total cases to date but shares many of the same genes. 28 out of the 64 shared genes have different mutations that make the two subvariant strains unique. Some of these gene mutations exist in critical areas – such as the spike protein – helping to increase infection potential, so new vaccines are being created and tailored to target these mutations.
BA.2 potentially more contagious
Tommy Shek informs that some studies suggest BA.2 version of Omicron of the Covid virus family spreads 33% times faster than BA.1. Experts even consider it to be the next global health concern. However, the good news is fully inoculated people, and those who have taken boosters are less likely to be infectious. The chances of catching the virus are also less compared to unvaccinated folks.
BA.2 is not severe as BA.1
A study conducted by researchers has indicated that a newer strain of virus named BA.2 is more dangerous than its predecessor BA.1, showing greater invasive properties. It can cause more severe lung disease after infection, hampering its functionality than other strains, as revealed by experiments on hamsters. On the other side, some studies on real human cases infected with the new variant showed that these might require hospitalization like its ancestor BA.1. But they don’t confirm its severity as such. According to medical experts, these two views have stark differences because tests on animals can fail to capture all the aspects of COVID-19 ailment faced by humans.
BA.2 variant symptoms and precautions
Some of the common symptoms of the new variants can be body aches, fever, loss of taste, etc. Severe infections can lead to drops in the SpO2 level, indicating the blood saturation rate. However, people aged 20 to 50 may not have to worry much as their symptoms can be relatively mild. The best practice is to mask your face and nose while interacting with others and maintain distance for your safety. Healthy diet can also be good for your immunity and strength.
The pandemic has changed everything how the world engages today says Tommy Shek. Vaccines and specific precautionary measures have been able to contain its spread. Still, it is better not to lose your guard and stay alert. Even if the variant is less severe, you must follow the health guidelines for your family's safety and security. Once the world is out of this dangerous infection, you can go back to life like the pre-pandemic times.