Covid-19 Omicron Virus

Covid-19 Stealth Omicron Virus 



What is the Omicrom Variant of Covid-19


Stealth Omicron – The New Covid-19 Strain in China An emerging Covid-19 strain called Stealth Omicron (BA.2) has erupted in China recently. The new Omicron is a sister variant of the Omicron BA.1. 


Current tests in China reveal that the Stealth Omicron is a more infectious, dominant variant fuelling new Covid cases in China. But is Stealth Omicron more fatal than its previous variant, and why is it named Stealth? What is Stealth Omicron BA.2? 

The new Omicron is a sub-variant of the first Omicron variant, also known as BA.1. BA.2 is different by almost 40 mutations in the spike region of the virus. PCR and Antigen testing use the spike region. Hong Kong is now a spike region where such testing is being assessed. 


BA.2 is named Stealth Omicron because it proves unidentifiable in PCR tests and appears as an S-gene failure. Laboratories have to perform extra tests to find the variant. The World Health Organization estimates Stealth Omicron to be almost 30% more contagious than Omicron BA.1 and is currently present in over 75 countries, including China. 


Is the New Strain More Dangerous? Stealth Omicron is becoming a dominant strain in Hong Kong, experiencing almost 90% of the variant. Research shows that BA.2 replicates about 70% more than the Delta variant and one and a half times faster than BA.1. Scientists in Japan established that the Stealth variant causes severe lung damage in hamsters. 

Still, the same has not been found in humans. Despite its high infectious rate, it does not amount to serious illnesses and deaths. Hospitalization rates for BA.2 are almost similar to those of BA.1. "WHO" continues to monitor the spread of BA.2, a sub-variant genetic trait that is proving harder to detect using the polymerase chain reaction test (PCR). 


China has recently had an upsurge of Covid-19 cases (over 1,000) of BA.2 variant infections since the pandemic outbreak in 2020. The Chinese National Health Commission (CNHC) reports that the spike is occurring from asymptomatic infections observed in people from three cities: ● Dongguan ● Qingdao ● Jilin How has the New Strain Affected China? 


Schools in Shanghai are closed, and learning is online due to high Covid-19 cases in mainland China. The CNHC reports that over 1530 local infections are present in most provinces across China. The figures are mounting up from the previous 1100 cases reported earlier. 

China adopted a zero-tolerance strategy towards Covid-19. The country has shifted to a "dynamic zero" strategy to handle emerging cases as the new infections are spread across 31 provinces. The mayors of Changchun and Jilin Cities have been dismissed for failing to contain the spread of Stealth Omicron.



How Can You Protect Yourself? 


Mitigation measures depend on the age of the infected patients, previous vaccination practices, and exposure of a population to previous strains of the virus. 

Remember that vaccination alone will not shield you from getting Omicron. However, vaccination can ensure that you do not succumb to serious illness if you become infected with the new strain.  





Katie Jane - Contributor 


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