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Omicron | BA.2, the sub-variant that raises questions

Omicron |  BA.2, the sub-variant that raises questions

A new variant has appeared on the planet. It is actually a sub-variant of the omicron called BA.2. It began to spread to Denmark, Great Britain, India and many other countries. Does this sub-variant BA.1 eliminate the original strain of Omicron? Is it more serious? More infection? Did he threaten Quebec? Here is what we know.

Posted on January 22nd

Suzanne Colpron

Suzanne Colpron
Press

BA.2 is a derivative of omicron

This is a closely watched sub-variant of Omicron. As we know, the virus responsible for COVID-19 is a coronavirus that is constantly undergoing mutations, which gave us the Delta variant and more recently Omicron. It keeps changing. For the initial pressure, BA.1, which touched Quebec, has now added BA.2 and BA.3, which are mostly in the minority. BA.2 differs from Omicron by just over 20 mutations, which have already dominated Denmark and India, where pollution has begun to rise again. Since its appearance, it was first identified in India in late December 2021 and has spread rapidly to many countries, including Israel, the United Kingdom, Belgium and France.

Photo by Henning Bagger, Agency France-Press Archives

People line up for a quick test in Central Alborg, Denmark, where Omicron’s BA.2 sub variant is prevalent.

It is called “stealth”.

It is also known as “stealthy” because it is so hard to spot. In the case of the original Omicron variant, due to a missing element in its genetic material, which scientists call removal, it was easily identified. By reduction, by screening, we know that this element is omicron, as it does not exist. “In BA.2, this deletion does not exist. So our screening test does not work. Genetic sequencing of the virus is absolutely necessary to distinguish BA.1 from BA.2, “said Nathalie Grandwax, a research laboratory researcher on the host response to viral infections at the Center Hospitalier de l University de Montreal (CHUM).)

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According to Alain Lamarre, a professor-researcher and expert in immunology and virology at the National Institute for Scientific Research, it took weeks to figure this out. He has been in Britain since December 6, ”he said. But it was not long before we realized he was there. That’s why it was called “Stealth” because it went under the radar for many weeks. ⁇

We do not know if he is in Quebec

Is it in Quebec? We do not care. “We know BA.2 is under-represented in Canada, but we have no information on Quebec,” said Nathalie Grandwax.

It does not seem more dangerous

Although it can transmit more than the original variant, it does not appear to be more dangerous. “We think it’s just as serious as BA.1,” said Benoit Massey, a professor at the University of Montreal’s School of Public Health. But it’s something to watch out for, it certainly is. What we have learned with the variants is that they amaze us. ⁇

Photo by Frank Augustine, Archives Associated Press

Research assistants analyze the genetic material of COVID-19 viruses using sequencing machines at the Welcome Songer Institute in Cambridge, England.

Nathalie Grand‌wax added that current data indicate that the original Omicron variant and BA.2 were not very different. “With the data we have, especially by analyzing what’s happening in Denmark and England, where there are already a few or many, the differences in intensity between the two are not obvious,” she said. At the moment, experts feel that there is no need to really worry, at least not dangerously. On the other hand, in terms of vaccine escape, we need studies to find out where it is. So it has to be decided. ⁇

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Professor-researcher Alain Lamarre is of the same opinion: “There is no need to worry,” he said. There are no more dangerous indications of this. But we must follow it closely. If it can be transmitted further, it will slow down the ideas of deconstruction ”