HomeScienceOmicron BA.2 reinfection: Can COVID subvariant cause serious diseases? 

Omicron BA.2 reinfection: Can COVID subvariant cause serious diseases? 

In good news regarding Omicron, a new study has revealed that those who have been infected with COVID subvariant BA.1 are less likely to get infected with BA.2. subvariant. This is because BA.1 version of the Omicron coronavirus variant provides strong protection against the latter. The study also indicates that widely circulating BA.2 is unlikely to cause a major wave of infections in countries that have already witnessed an Omicron peak led by the previously identified subvariant. 

The authors – Troels Lillebaek, a molecular epidemiologist at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, and his team looked into Denmark’s medical registries to find out whether re-infection by the BA.2 subvariant can create havoc.

Can Omicorn BA.2 cause severe reinfection? 

They saw the BA.2 subvariant has been proliferating in Denmark since the start of this year, and currently comprises about 88% of all coronavirus cases. But the wave of BA.1 that preceded BA.2 is offering protection. 

“There’s a build-up of immunity at the moment that is preventing a disaster,” Lillebaek said, as quoted by the scientific journal Nature

“If BA.2 arrives in a community late, when the BA.1 Omicron wave is nearly over, immunity by Omicron infection and/or by boosting is likely to keep BA.2 from driving a second Omicron wave,” said Sarah Otto, an evolutionary biologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Lillebaek’s colleague to Nature

In another piece of good news, the study also indicates that the vaccines provide some amount of protection against Omicron including BA.2. 

The study, which was published on the preprint server medRxiv, but is yet to be peer-reviewed.

What who said on re-infection risks by Omicron BA.2? 

Regarding the topic, World Health Organisation (WHO) officials said that there is no difference in the re-infection risks, when sub-lineage BA.1 and BA.2 are compared.

“If there was an increase, it would mean that re-infection is likely to occur and because we are not seeing that, its a good sign,” WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove said. 

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Previously, WHO had mentioned that BA.2 subvariant is more transmissible than the previously identified variant, but the severity level of both the variant (among humans) is the same. However, though the variant is milder than Delta, Omicron is not mild, the UN health agency pointed out time and again.  

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