SARS-CoV-2 is Coronavirus that cause COVID-19and the panel of experts meet regularly to discuss available data on the transmissibility and severity of variants and their impact on diagnosis, treatment and vaccines.
They emphasized that public health authorities should continue to monitor BA.2 as a separate subline of Omicron, which is currently the dominant variant circulating globally.
Research is underway
Omicron is made up of several sub-lines, including BA.1 and BA.2, all of which are being monitored by WHO and partners.
BA.2 is among the most common, with reported sequences increasing in recent weeks, compared with BA.1, although the global circulation of all variants is now decreasing.
The experts explained that BA.2 differs from BA.1 in its genetic sequence and it has a growth advantage over this subline.
Although studies are underway to find out why, early data suggest that BA.2 appears to be more transmissible than BA.1, which is currently the most commonly reported Omicron subroute.
However, this transmission difference appears to be much smaller than between the BA.1 and the Delta variant, the experts said.
Overall report on decline
Meanwhile, although the BA.2 sequence is increasing proportionally compared to other Omicron sublineages, there is still a reported decrease in overall cases globally.
Furthermore, while cases of reinfection with BA.2 following BA.1 infection have been reported, preliminary data from studies suggest that BA.1 infection provides strong protection against infection with BA.1 reinfection with BA.2.
WHO will continue to closely monitor the BA.2 line as part of Omicron.
The United Nations agency urges countries to remain vigilant, monitor and report sequences, and conduct independent and comparative analyzes of the different Omicron sublines.
Globally, there were more than 424,820,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday and more than 5.8 million deaths, according to WHO data.