Omicron variant BA.2.75 is believed to be highly contagious and has spread to several countries, worrying scientists all over the world.
The ever-changing coronavirus has produced another mutation, which is believed to be highly contagious and worried scientists as it gains ground in India. Not only that the variant BA.2.75 can spread at a faster rate and evade immunity provided by vaccines. However, it is unknown if it could result in a more severe disease than other omicron variations, such as the widely known BA.5.
Matthew Binnicker, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota recently stated that while it is too early to “draw conclusions,” the rate of transmission is exponentially high in India. Some health experts are of the opinion that the variant has been detected in many parts of the world already, which means it is spreading.
New Mutations Means Higher Chances Of Infection
When compared to BA.2, the new subvariant’s parent strain, it possesses eight more spike protein mutations. Scientists are worried that due to the position of these mutations, BA.2.75 may be able to bypass the defences that humans have developed against BA.2.
In other words, if a person who contracted COVID from the BA.2 omicron strain came into touch with BA.2.75, they could contract COVID once more. It has been emphasized that there is now no certainty among experts over the new subvariant. However, the spread of BA.2.75 in at least three separate regions of India, a nation that has already been hit by a BA.2 wave, appears to be another sign of BA.2.75’s capacity to circumvent immunity.
COVID Variant BA.2.75 Continues To Spread
According to Lipi Thukral, a researcher at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi, the most recent mutant has been discovered in several remote states in India and appears to be spreading there more quickly than other variants. About ten other nations have also reported finding it, including Australia, Germany, the UK, and Canada. On the U.S. West Coast, two cases were recently discovered, and Helix discovered a third case last week.
There are currently around 70 recorded cases of BA.2.75 in the world, however, scientists believe COVID testing has significantly reduced in many countries.
Will It Lead To The Next Wave?
Even while scientists are only just beginning to learn about the BA.2.75 virus, there is currently no evidence to suggest that it causes a more severe kind of infection. According to a statement issued by the New Zealand Ministry of Health on Tuesday, the evidence regarding its transmissibility and immunological evasiveness is still preliminary and developing.
At this stage, it is difficult to know if BA.2.75 could overrun BA.5 in terms of infections. However, the variant seems to be optimised to escape the immunity of BA.2 in a similar way that BA.5 escapes immunity. Regardless of the spread in the country or elsewhere, it is unclear whether the new Omicron variant would lead to a new wave or not.