The first case of the omicron subvariable BA.2, commonly known as “stealth omicron”, was discovered in Illinois, according to Northwestern University.
The case was discovered by Northwestern Medicine’s Center for Pathogen Genomics and Microbial Evolution (CPGME) over the weekend, according to a news release.
It is not clear where exactly the case was reported.
Earlier on Monday, a Milwaukee County health official said the secondary variant had been reported in Wisconsin.
This version of the coronavirus has been detected in more than 40 countries and is considered by many to be more stealthy than the original version of omicron, BA.1, hence the name. Health officials say special genetic traits make BA.2 harder to detect.
The World Health Organization classifies the overall omicron as a variant of concern, but it does not indicate BA.2 with a specific name. However, given its rise in some countries, the agency said that investigations into BA.2 “should take priority.”
An initial analysis by scientists in Denmark showed no difference in hospitalizations for BA.2 compared with baseline omicrons. Scientists are still looking at how infectious this version is and how well current vaccines work against it. It’s also unclear how well the treatments will work against it.
Doctors also don’t know for sure whether someone who has been infected with COVID-19 caused by omicrons can develop a relapse of BA.2 disease. But they hope, especially a previous omicron infection, could reduce the severity of the disease if someone later develops BA.2.
https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/illinois-reports-first-case-of-stealth-omicron-subvariant-ba-2/2744291/ Illinois First Case Report of ‘Stealth Omicron’ Subvariant BA.2 – NBC Chicago