Johannesburg: The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns on Thursday, stating that the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron detected in five African countries might not reveal itself as a form of Omicron in samples, Reuters reported.
In an online media briefing, WHOs Dr Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi said that BA.2 has been detected in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal and South Africa. She noted that the variant is not always detected in the S-gene Target Criterion, which is increasing concern. The S-Gene Target Criterion is used to detect Omicron against other variants.
The new sub-variant has started replacing the old BA.1 variant in some countries, including Denmark, though there is not much difference in disease severity has observed, WHO said.
Gumede-Moeletsi further said that who is closely working with laboratories and it has instructed them to forward samples that had come back without detecting Omicron. Further analysis of the forwarded samples will give more insight into the spread of the BA.2 variant.
Omicron was said to be easier in detection, comparable to former variants since BA.1 doesn't have one of the target genes used in an ordinary PCR test. Cases detected through this were assumed as BA.1.BA.2, also known as stealth sub-variant.
Scientists are now monitoring the variant same just like they have done in all the previous variants. They are tracking the number of virus genomes submitted at public databases.
However, the BA.2 variant can be detected by home kits for Covid-19 tests, though it won't indicate the variant responsible for the disease.