October 1, 2022

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BA.2 Ómicron subvariant advances: how far the infection will change, according to Harvard experts

Several weeks after the crash, global COVID-19 cases increased by 8% worldwide (Getty)

The Epidemiologists at Harvard University Monitors the global spread of the Ómicron BA.2 sub variant, which assesses the potential impact on the development of the infection: Are there any recorded infections, such as those caused by Omigran, between December and January? Can the sharp rises in Hong Kong, China and Germany be reflected in the rest of the world?

Many parts of the world have seen a major outbreak of BA.2, but the effects vary widely“, Under control Jacob Lemieux, professor at Harvard Medical School and epidemiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. In the case Hong Kong, The BA.2 subtype caused a large increase in infections and, as Lemieux described, “total loss of control over the infection”. On South AfricaIt was affected by the severe waves of Omicron, technically BA.1, now the BA.2 sub variant has completely replaced the previous one, but Without a significant increase in cases.

“We do not see any change in the BA.2 spread in the United States,” Lemieux said. Associate Director of the Virus Variation Program for the Massachusetts Pathogen Readiness Federation. “It simply came to our notice then South Africa, There was a severe wave of BA.1. Then the BA.2 sub variant dominated, there was still a low level of exchange, but no increase.

In the United States, replacing BA.1 with BA.2 is much more advanced, however, with no significant increase in cases or deaths. Director of Pathogenetic Genetic Surveillance at the Bronwyn Mac Innis, MIT and Harvard Broad InstituteThe most recent genetic data show that 45% of Massachusetts patients have BA.2. With a doubling time of 6.8 days, BA.2 may be more than half of current infections, but there are no signs of an increase in new infections..

“Many parts of the world have seen a major outbreak of BA.2, but the effects vary widely,” said Jacob Lemieux, a professor at Harvard Medical School (REUTERS).

In many U.S. states, the data reflect an improvement in BA.2, although the expert stressed that the numbers could be affected by a variety of factors, including the results of COVID-19 self-diagnosis tests not shared with health officials. ., said Mac Innis. Anyway, he insisted on itThere are no signs of an increase in cases or deaths associated with this increase in BA.2.”.

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All versions of Omicron are highly infectious, so this variant quickly replaced earlier versions of corona virus such as Delta. Moreover, several studies have found it BA.2 is more contagious than BA.1.

“The UK Health Security Agency estimates that the PA2 subtype is growing 80% faster than BA.1. And in the United States, BA.2 seems to be on track to become the dominant variant ahead of BA.1, ”said Dr. Lena Wen, ER Physician And Professor of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health George Washington University. The expert agreed, “The good news is, sub-variation BA.2 does not appear to cause more severe disease than BA.1

According to the latest WHO reports, the number of cases worldwide has increased by 8% in the past week According to registered notices. The rate of BA.2 cases has been steadily increasing in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East since the end of 2021..

Double times of different types of corona virus (Chart: Marcelo Regaldo)
Double times of different types of corona virus (Chart: Marcelo Regaldo)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) BA.2 is currently responsible for about a third of all infections in the USHowever, the Covid-19 cases have followed a downward pattern, marking the end of the BA.1 rise of Ómicron.

Doctor John BrooksA clinical epidemiologist and medical director of the CDC’s COVID-19 response said that BA.2-related infections may be on the rise. Serious illness is unlikely to increase Or deaths associated with subtype variation.

“Our data suggest that this will continue to grow,” the CDC epidemiologist expects. “But there are some things that work in our favor. Early infection of the original Omigran variant does not appear to be necessary against infection, but does provide protection against acute illness and death.Brooks said.

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Yes OK BA.2 is more contagious than BA.1 and has not been shown to cause serious disease. And though Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have changed significantly since they were first developed, and current formulas are still in effect.The doctor said this week Maria van Kerkov, WHO Leading Epidemiologist. Vaccines are incredibly effective in preventing serious illness and death, even against the BA.1 and BA.2 subtypes.“, He said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BA.2 is currently responsible for about a third of all infections (REUTERS / Diego Vara) in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BA.2 is currently responsible for about a third of all infections (REUTERS / Diego Vara) in the United States.

The physician considered that “the current suspension should take advantage of the possibility of preparing for a possible additional wave or variation of anxiety.” Gavin YameProfessor of World Health and Public Policy Duke University, USA. According to him, to do that “he must Expansion of vaccine protection and booster useAs well as ensuring the availability of high quality masks and quick tests for free.

Scientists suspect that The rapid growth of BA.2 is due to its unique mutations. In the gene for the spike protein on the surface of the virus, BA.2 contains eight mutations not found in BA.1. Although Harvard experts are optimistic about the sluggish progress of micron BA.2 in the United StatesOn the other hand, the WHO has warned that the global case increase is just the beginning of a new wave in some parts of the world.

These increases occur even though trials have been reduced in some countries, viz The cases we see are only the tip of the iceberg”, Said Tetros Adonom last week GabriasDirector-General of the International Health Organization.

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Re-infection with Omicron is possible, but not common

Recent studies by researchers in DenmarkScientists have found that more cases of Govt-19 have been reported than anywhere else in the world Re-infection with BA.2 may occur after BA.1, but this is very rare.

Viewing data from above During the three-month period between November 2021 and February 2022, only 47 re-infections of BA.2 were detected after 1.8 million cases, after BA.1.. The researchers noted that most of them were “young, unvaccinated individuals.”

However, it is not clear how long the immunity against Omigran will last and how well it actually works for everyone..

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