State of Disaster

Stock image of a coronavirus cell – Photo: Pixabay

‘No need for concern’: NICD neutralise fears over new BA2 variant

The BA2 mutation of Omicron is out-competing the original strain in some parts of the world – but this new variant doesn’t warrant any panic.

State of Disaster

Stock image of a coronavirus cell – Photo: Pixabay

Panicking when a new COVID-19 variant emerges is so 2021, anyway: The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) have moved to calm any early jitters, in regards to the BA2 lineage of Omicron.

Is the BA2 variant more dangerous than Omicron? It doesn’t look like it…

The variant is derived from the original Omicron strain, which emerged last November. The BA2 sequence, which is even more mutated than BA1, may have a slight transmissibility advantage – a common theme emerging amongst new strains. This latest form of the virus is also becoming dominant in some countries…

However, the latest data from Denmark would suggest that this really isn’t the time to panic. Hospitalisation rates have barely budged since the BA2 strain was picked up within their borders.

NICD urge citizens ‘not to worry’ about Omicron mutation

The soothing noises coming from Europe are also being replicated in our neck of the woods. Research Professor Penny Moore, of the NICD and Wits University, has reassured South Africans that BA2 is nothing out of the ordinary, and a mutated sub-lineage is ‘exactly what should be expected’.

For now, Professor Moore says there is ‘no reason to be concerned’, and the early data is coming out as positive. Unfortunately for the COVID gloom-mongers out there, they’re going to have to pick another doomsday variant:

“Look, there are several variants emerging within Omicron. It’s what is expected. BA2, though, is interesting because it is becoming dominant in some countries. BA2 DOES NOT contain a key deletion in the original strain. Now, is this a cause for concern? We don’t have that much data, but I really don’t see any reason why we should be concerned.”

Professor Penny Moore, NICD