Expert: Omicron subtype BA.2 could prolong omicron wave

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Risk of infection with subtype more than double that of BA.1, study says.

Experts believe an arguably even more easily transmitted sub-variant of Omicron could lead to an extension of the current wave of infections. “BA.2 will also become established in our country,” German immunologist Carsten Watzl wrote on Twitter on Monday. This could prolong the omicron wave. The secretary-general of the German Society for Immunology was referring to a study from Denmark on the omicron subtype that has not yet been peer-reviewed by external experts.

Substantially better transferable
According to the study, the own risk of infection with BA.2 is more than twice as high as with subtype BA.1, both within the group of the unvaccinated, as well as in people with basic protection and in those who have been boostered. The risk of passing on the virus is also greatly increased among infected unvaccinated people, but not among vaccinated and boostered people, the study says.

Vaccination also had an effect against infection, transmission, and severe disease with the emergence of BA.2, albeit reduced compared with earlier variants, the researchers write. The higher BA.2 susceptibility and transmissibility in the unvaccinated is likely to lead to an even further increase in transmission in unvaccinated children, such as in schools and kindergartens, they note.

For the preprint, researchers in Denmark looked at infections with BA.1 and BA.2 in households. They looked at what was happening starting with about 8,500 so-called primary cases in late December, early January. “We conclude that Omikron BA.2 is inherently much more transmissible than BA.1,” the conclusion states. BA.2 also has immune escape properties that further reduce the vaccine’s protective effect against infection, it said. However, it does not increase transmission by vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections.

  • source: kurier.at/picture:pixabay.com
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