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The BA.2 Omicron Variant

A new variant of the infamous COVID-19 Omicron strand, now accounting for the resurgence of COVID, has begun to spread and is now named The Stealth variant.

This strain now makes up 12% to 20 % of the diagnosed cases, and it has doubled in the last few weeks from a minor contributor to being one of the most dominant strands of the virus.

While this variant isn’t new (having been discovered as early as November 2021), it does seem easier to catch at a consensus BA.2 causing 23%  of new COVID-19 diagnoses.

Many places have let down their COVID-19 prevention measures which makes it easier for a new variant to spread. The issue with these Omicron strains is that each of them have their own very particular symptoms and results.

According to the New York Times, the Omicron strain is very successful at infiltration through the nose. While the B2 variant of Omicron is responsible for being the most dominant strain in the U.S., as well as being responsible for a new wave of stealth diagnosis.

Notably, the B2 variation has developed a genetic mutation in order to avoid detection upon the first test.

The lack of a particular genetic inclusions has failed to trip the red flag when PCR tests are administered. The other issue is that this strain tends to avoid the current released vaccines currently.

Simply having a regular two-shot vaccine against the virus hasn’t done much in defending against this variant; however, having the booster shot does seem to do much more in neutralizing the strain.

According to epidemiologists, there is a 90% amount of protection against hospitalizations, and 40% effective against the strands B1 and B2. Luckily, the B2 strand seems to be susceptible to the antibodies created by the earlier Omicron variants and vaccinations.

According to Dr. Eric Chambers, a VSU biology professor, the best precautions we can take are the most obvious ones: get vaccinated and get boosted.

Written by Amanda Russell, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of the Spectator

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