All you need to know about the Omicron BA.2 variant

As the discoverability of new Covid variants became popular, the Omicron variant was one of the variants recognized by scientists in Botswana and South Africa in late November. Even though reports that came in later showed earlier cases in the Netherlands, the origin can be traced to these countries.

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have classified Omicron as a “variant of concern.”

The initial case of the BA.2 variant was reported in the U.S. in January 2022 even though it was discovered by scientists in November 2021.

BA.2  has been said by scientists to be more transmissible, harder to track and now prominent worldwide resulting in a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in some countries. It is a new sub-variant of the Omicron version of the coronavirus.p

Just like Omicron, vaccines are less effective against this new strain but booster jabs can offer considerable protection and it is no more plausible to result in serious disease.

According to the World Health Organization,

Omicron BA.2 variant now represents nearly 86% of all sequenced cases.

It is more transmissible than it is one of the highly contagious siblings of Omicron, BA.1, and BA.1.1. However, the evidence so far has suggested that it is no more likely to cause severe disease.

Just like other variants in the Omicron family, vaccines are not more effective against BA.2 variants than against previous variants like Alpha or the original strain of coronavirus, and protection declines over time. However, according to UK Health Security Agency data, protection is restored by a booster jab, particularly for preventing hospitalization and death.

Would BA.2 variant reinfect people?

One major concern about the Omicron BA.2 variant was if it could re-infect individuals who had already been infected with BA.1, especially as several countries appeared to be encountering “double peaks” in infection rates surprisingly near. However, data from both the UK and Denmark have demonstrated that while Omicron would reinfect people who had other variants, such as Delta, only a few of BA.2 reinfections in people who had BA.1 have been established so far among tens of thousands of cases.

Scientists stated that another possible explanation for the current rise in BA.2 variant could be that the global uptick transpired at the same time that many countries raised public health interventions.

How to protect yourself from Omicron BA.2 Variant

Individuals need to understand that variants like Omicron and BA.2 are a biological part of the evolution of the virus.

The best means to stave off new variants is to get vaccinated and get a booster shot because if more people get fully vaccinated,  it would decrease the likelihood of the virus spreading and mutating.

 Recommendations for boosters have been evolving lately even updated information is available on the CDC website. It is advisable to ensure you get a PCR test at our Leicester Square clinic in case you have symptoms of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Omicron and BA.2 are still threats in the U.K., and experts continue to recommend following infection prevention strategies.

Finally, even though the lockdown has been lifted, it is still important to stick to the social measures which include maintaining social distance, carrying out handwashing, ensure you monitor your health daily by watching for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19, sanitizing and wearing facemasks.

If you discover you have been exposed, quarantine and stay away from others when you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or the BA.2 variant.

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