Ba.2 Variant Concern – in the last two years, novel coronavirus and new COVID variants have been controlling the lives of all Americans and people around the world.
There is no doubt that the world has been in hibernation mode since the first grade of a novel coronavirus in November 2019. The whole world was just doing essential things and postponing everything in fear of new COVID variants.
After the struggle of two years, the United States and the whole world have learned that we have to live with COVID-19 just like any other disease in the world. That is why even the concerns related to sub-variants of omicron are rising, but the world is not stopping.
Recently experts found BA.1 and BA.2, The sub-variants of omicron. Experts are more worried about Ba.2 Variant Concerns. Let’s take a look at all about the newly found subway variants of omicron.
What is Ba.2 Variant?
As you already know, in November 2021, researchers found a new variant of novel coronavirus named omicron in South Africa and Botswana.
As per the statistics, 99% of COVID cases currently active are the result of omicron worldwide. Even though omicron is more contagious and transmissible, it is not causing severe disease than its predecessor delta variant.
Once the scientist found the omicron variant, they categorized it into three different groups. BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3.
The world was under the effect of sub-variant BA..1, but in the last few weeks, the cases of sub-variant BA.2 have been increasing rapidly.
The whole charade of new variants and their sub-variants raise a few Ba.2 Variant concerns. The BA.2 variant has been especially prominent in countries such as Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe.
The dominance of new COVID variant BA.2.
Recent updates in COVID variant data have clearly indicated that the sub-variant BA.1 has been replaced by BA.2 as the dominant omicron sub-variant in many countries, including South Africa, Austria, India, Singapore, and Denmark.
In December 2021, the total cases of BA.2 sub-variant of omicron were around 20% in Denmark, and In January 2022, it increased to 66%. This drastic increase in the percentage makes it the dominant sub-variant in Denmark.
Even though many countries in the world are being dominated by the new COVID variant BA.2, in the United States, it remained as low as 4%. Officials of the Centers for Disease Control and prevention expect the number to rise as much as 70% in upcoming months.
In other countries, including India and Austria, the new sub-variant BA.2 is rising at rapid speed, and experts believe in the upcoming few weeks, it will overtake the whole position of the BA.1 variant.
U.S. President on BA.2 variant concern
Won’t first of March 2022, the president of the United States of America, Joe Biden, addressed the nation as the fear of a new variant was rising.
In his speech president, Joe Biden has urged each and every American to prepare themselves for the new COVID variants in the future. The president was announcing a new initiative aimed at helping COVID-19 infected people.
As per the new announcement, the COVID-19 infected people will get tested at a nearby pharmacy, and they will receive antiviral pills on the spot as well. Experts believe that the new policy Is just a hint of a new policy that includes living with COVID.
Biden later announced that the country had progressed so much, and now COVID-19 no longer controls the life of the Americans. Apart from that, Biden also announced, if required, we will deploy new vaccines within 100 days.
The new statement on the COVID-19 vaccine has raised a lot of questions. Experts believe that the government will launch a new vaccine that will be mandatory for every American each year.
Just like flu shots, Americans will have to get a new COVID-19 vaccine each year. Biden didn’t let them just go and even hit Congress hard by saying if Congress provides the fund, we will have a new stockpile of tests, masks, and peels ready.
Even though president Biden announced, we will never just accept living with COVID. But, the way Biden hinted at the new vaccine updates and fast testing of COVID-19 has a clear indication that America is forwarding towards living with COVID-19.
He further said America is one of the worst affected countries by the deadly virus, which was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
World Health Organization on BA.2 variant
In the last week of February 2022, the World Health Organization issued a statement regarding the subway variant of omicron named BA.2.
In its statement, the World Health Organization told everyone, based on the data available of transmission, reinfection, diagnostics, severity, and therapeutic impacts of dog vaccines, the new variant BA.2 should continue to be considered as a variant of concern.
Further said that omicron is made up of several sub-variants, and each of them is being monitored by WHO and its partners individually. Even though the spread of all variants is declining globally, the new variant BA.2 has been increasing and recently took over the BA.1 variant.
As per the new studies by the World Health Organization, people who have recently recovered from COVID-19 are also at the risk of reinfection with the BA.2 variant.
Even if you have recently recovered from the BA.1 variant, you are still at risk as there have been documented cases of reinfection. WHO further mentioned that we need strong protection against the new variant till we get the fresh data.
Apart from that WHO also mentioned, studies are ongoing to understand the variant more effectively, including the risk of reinfection and severity. Preliminary laboratory data from Japan which was generated using animal models without any immunity highlighted the BA.2 variant might cause more severe disease in hamsters as compared to BA.1.
Even though the initial data from countries like the United Kingdom, Denmark, and South Africa where the immunity from vaccination or natural infection is high, the new COVID variant BA.2 does not cause any severe infection as compared to the BA.1 variant.
Do treatments work against the new COVID BA.2 variant?
Even though researchers and scientists have known about the new variant for a very long time since the first spread of the omicron variant, still enough data is not available to make a statement.
As you are already aware that new variants of COVID-19 are infecting already vaccinated people, which means vaccines are effective, but sometimes they fail too.
Until now, enough data is not available, so scientists are making assumptions. After looking at all the data regarding the previous variance of COVID-19, the scientists are more concerned As the new variant could render all currently available monoclonal antibody treatments ineffective.
What about Severity of the Ba.2 Variant?
Even though the president of the United States is telling Americans not to be concerned regarding the BA.2 variant of COVID-19, still many people are more concerned than ever before.
Recent laboratory studies suggest that the BA.2 variant may cause more severe illness after infections than the BA.1 variant. As per the study, it replicated much faster than in cultures of upper and lower respiratory tract cells.
A few experiments on hamsters also suggested that BA.2 had a superior ability to replicate and spread in the lungs than the BA.1 variant, which is more concerning.
Till now, the data of the BA.2 variant on humans indicated that it does not cause more severe illness than the BA.1 variant, but data is limited.
The BA.2 variant concerns have been rising since the president of the United States and Joe Biden announced that Americans have fought the virus very well, and it is one of the least affected countries in the world.
In his speech, Biden also indicated that there had been talks of a new COVID vaccine that can be released in 100 days after the spread of any fresh variant.
As you are already aware, since the spread of novel coronavirus in November 2019, it has been coming back with a new variant starting from alpha-beta to all the way omicron and its sub-variants.
Till January 2022, the whole world was under the effect of the BA.1 sub-variant of omicron, which was a variant of novel coronavirus.
Even though the cases of the omicron variant were going downwards in the whole world, a sudden spike in the rise of BA.2 variant cases raised a lot of concerns.
Not just the president of the United States, the World Health Organization also released a statement regarding the new variant of BA.2. They mention that the World Health Organization and other organizations are keeping an eye on all the sub-variants of omicron, including BA.2.
Will our previous vaccine work on the New COVID variant?
Yes, our previous vaccine will work as it was doing till now. Even though the new COVID variant has raised many concerns, scientists are still sure that it will work on all the variants.
Will there be more COVID variants?
Yes, as long as the COVID virus spreads through the population, new mutations will continue to happen, and the delta and omicron variants are the family of COVID-19.