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February 7, 2022
Omicron is not only the sister of BA.2!
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are four strains of Omicron, including "B.1.1.529", "BA.1", "BA.2" and "BA.3".
According to the Daily Mirror and The Sun, there are currently four different Omicron strains circulating around the world, the first being B.1.1.529, which was classified as a variant of concern (VOC) by the WHO in November 2021.
BA.1 has spread to 171 countries worldwide; BA.2 has spread to at least 40 countries, with more than 8,000 cases worldwide; and BA.3 is still very rare.
The WHO report released a few days ago states that while BA.1 is still the most widespread strain of the virus worldwide, the trend in India, South Africa, the UK and Denmark shows that BA.2 cases are increasing. The characteristics of BA.2, such as its transmission factors, are still unclear, but the WHO website stresses that investigations into traits such as immune escape and lethality should be conducted independently of BA.1.
It is not surprising that there are other "family members" of Omicron, as Delta has developed over 200 subvariants, most of which are similar to the original strain and are unlikely to have any additional impact in terms of severity or immunity.
Francois Balloux, professor of computational systems biology and director of the Institute of Genetics at University College London, said that viruses evolve rapidly over time, with mutations occurring in different strains, and that the new coronaviruses are no exception, with an average of two mutations per month per lineage.
He said BA.1 and BA.2 have about 20 different mutations, only a few of which are in important regions recognised by antibodies, and there is no evidence of differences between the two in terms of immune escape, lethality, etc.
According to Danish scientists, the mutation known as BA . 2, the Omicron sub-mutant is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original Omicron strain.
The British Health and Safety Executive ( U . K . K . Health Security Agency ) recently said that BA . 2 has a "huge" growth advantage over the original Omicron clone.
Nearly half of the US states have confirmed the presence of BA . 2 virus has been confirmed in nearly half of the US states, with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of last Friday.