The World Health Organization has warned that OMICRON currently has 4 strains of the virus circulating around the world.
Mutant variants have developed several distinct lines since their emergence late last year.
This isn’t a surprise, it’s a common pattern for virus strains – with Delta splitting into more than 200 sub-variants before Omicron overtook it.
Most strains are similar to the original strain so there is no additional impact on severity or immunity.
Health officials have repeatedly said the Covid booster shots protect against Omicron and offer the best chance of weathering the pandemic.
The first known version of Omicron was B.1.1.529 – dubbed a variant of interest by WHO.
This later evolved into two strains, with BA.1 becoming super-transmitted, spreading to 171 countries and causing a flood of freedoms back in many places.
Now, BA.2 and BA.3 have been recorded as new sub-variants in the Omicron family.
They have many of the same mutations as Omicron – with a very low current case rate, especially for BA.3.
There have been 426 cases of BA.2 found in the UK since December 6, with London topping the table with 146 cases.
A WHO report from 21 January says: “While the BA.1 strain was previously the most dominant, recent trends from India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Denmark suggest that BA.2 is increasing in proportion.
“Transmission drivers and other properties of BA.2 are under investigation but remain unclear to date.”
Latest data from UKHSA suggests it could possibly spread faster Original Omicronbut more research is needed to be sure – with it now officially a variant under investigation.
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There’s little to worry about right now, experts say, and importantly, there’s no evidence it’s more serious.
Professor Francois Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology and Director, UCL Institute of Genetics, UCL, said: “Viruses tend to evolve quite rapidly with different strains constantly acquiring mutations by the time. SARS-CoV-2 is no exception to this model, with each family line on average receiving two mutations per month. ”
“BA.1 and BA.2 are separated by about 20 mutations. Only a few of the 20 mutations that distinguish BA.1 from BA.2 are located in regions of the genome important for immunological recognition.
“It can therefore be predicted that infection by either subline will provide strong immunity against the other, as well as against itself.
“To date there is no evidence that BA.1 and BA.2 differ in their immunogenicity, virulence or the age at which they are preferentially infectious.
“Based on all available evidence, changes in the relative frequencies of the BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron substreams do not warrant the imposition of any pandemic restrictions or the lifting of streams. now available.”
The Sub-variants have been detected in South Africa, Australia and Canada – was originally found in a South African man who had traveled from Gauteng, a hotspot during the Omicron outbreak.
However, the latest data shows that it has actually been seen in many countries since November and nowhere else can compete. Omicron.
Health and Social Care Minister, Sajid Javid, said: “We are learning to live with this virus – and thanks to our world-leading surveillance system, we are able to quickly detect it. detect and carefully monitor any genetic changes to Covid-19.
“When we cautiously return Plan AI encourage you to give yourself and your loved ones the best possible protection and Get Boost Now. ”
Studies from Denmark, where the minor variant accounted for half of all Omicron cases, showed no difference in risk of hospitalization.
It doesn’t seem to cause a more serious illness than the original Omicron – which is a colder variety for most people, especially those who have been vaccinated.
Health officials in Denmark, who have seen the most BA.2 cases to date, said Covid Vaccine is still believed to be effective.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/health/17431386/four-different-omicron-strains-covid/ There are FOUR different strains of Omicron in circulation, WHO warns