GS Paper - 2 (Diseases)

The Omicron COVID variant continues to puzzle us, another sub-strain of the variant - BA.2, also known as stealth Omicron, has emerged. This sub-variant has already spread across 50 countries including India. And experts suggest that BA.2 is only more contagious than the earlier detected but also harder to detect.

What is stealth Omicron?

  1. This version of the coronavirus, which scientists call BA.2, is widely considered stealthier than the original version of omicron because particular genetic traits make it somewhat harder to detect.
  2. BA.2 has lots of mutations. About 20 of them in the spike protein that studs the outside of the virus are shared with the original omicron. But it also has additional genetic changes not seen in the initial version.
  3. A recent study by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has suggested the BA.2 sub-lineage of the COVID variant spreads much faster than the BA.1 strain. But, it seems to show higher vaccine protection.