The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has warned that the BA.2 sub-lineage of Omicron, regarded as a “stealth” coronavirus variant, appears to have a substantial growth advantage over the currently predominant BA.1 strain. On Friday, the UKHSA said that there was an increased growth rate of BA.2 compared with BA.1 in all regions of England where there were enough cases to compare them.
Looking at the data, they warned that “the apparent growth advantage is currently substantial”.
This could mean that the BA.2 sub-variant may soon become the dominant strain in the UK, and the rest of the world.
The omicron variant has torn around the globe with great ferocity since its emergence, accounting for 90 percent of new cases in the UK.
Now its new subvariant dubbed the “Stealth Omicron”, has brought fresh concerns that larger waves of COVID-19 may strike in the future.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor for the UKHSA said: “We now know that BA.2 has an increased growth rate which can be seen in all regions in England.”
The agency confirmed that so far there is no data on the severity of BA.2 compared to BA.1 while reiterating that their preliminary assessment did not find a difference in the effectiveness of vaccines against symptomatic disease between the two Omicron lineages.