Experts say that it is not very lethal, but it is more infectious. The good news is that COVID tests are effective at detecting it and vaccines can combat it.
It has not been three months since the first case of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus was discovered that there is already news of a sub-variant first appearing in Connecticut. It’s called BA.2 and it’s not exactly a new variant but a sub-variant of Omicron.
Doctors say that while it’s likely to be more infectious, it’s probably not more lethal and that vaccines will work just as well.
So far, only one case has been discovered in Connecticut in Fairfield County, but it has also been detected in 42 other countries and is still rising.
The Ómicron subvariant was detected in a sample genetically sequenced by the Yale School of Medicine. “It has several other mutations that the main Omicron variant doesn’t have,” said Dr. F. Perry Wilson of Yale School of Medicine.
“We will continue to take the same precautions and we will continue to treat people the same. But it doesn’t seem to be more deadly,” explained Dr. Ulysses Wu of Hartford Healthcare.
Now the big question is could it lead to another surge of COVID?
“What we’re going to be monitoring very closely is if we see an increase in surveillance for the virus,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The Omicron BA.2 subvariant is sometimes called a stealth variant for its ability to fool tests and be misclassified as Delta, but the Yale scientists want to make it clear that COVID tests are still effective at detecting it.
“PCR tests still detect BA.2, home tests still detect BA.2, the reason they call it a stealth variant is because in certain PCR tests it looks more like Delta than Omicron.”
Could COVID eventually mutate to the point where vaccines need to be reformulated?
“Probably yes, but we already do it every year with the flu vaccine,” according to experts.