A South African infectious disease specialist, Richard Lessells, says the Omicron sub-variant, BA.2, doesn’t cause severe symptoms.
The sub-variant, which is more infectious than the original Omicron BA.1 variant, has been detected in five African countries and is spreading through South Africa.
Lessells, however, says there’s no concern of a resurgence as available vaccines are equally as effective against BA.2 as they are against BA.1. Said Lessells:
It seems to be a bit more infectious than BA.1 but there is no evidence it causes any different disease, in particular, more severe disease and we know that the vaccines are equally as effective against BA.2 as against BA.1.
Those are the really key things and it is not something that people should be alarmed by it may be the cause of some infections now but we don’t expect it to cause a major resurgence in South Africa.
On Tuesday, Dr Boris Pavlin of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s COVID-19 Response Team told an online briefing that vaccines continue to provide similar protection against the different forms of Omicron.
In countries such as the Philippines, Nepal, Qatar, India and Denmark, the subvariant is already becoming dominant. Said Pavlin:
Vaccination is profoundly protective against severe disease, including for Omicron. BA.2 is rapidly replacing BA.1.
Its impact is unlikely to be substantial, although more data are needed.