What is 'stealth Omicron' variant that can trigger fourth Covid-19 wave in India?
The sudden rise in Covid cases across the world are triggered by a new variant called ‘stealth Omicron’, which is a sub-variant of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
- Stealth Omicron is a sub-variant of Omicron
- It is scientifically denoted as BA.2
New Delhi: After a brief halt, several Asian and European countries including China and South Korea are witnessing a steep rise in Covid-19 cases that prompted an alarm about a possible approaching fourth wave in India too.
These new cases across the world are triggered by a new variant called ‘stealth Omicron’, which is a sub-variant of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
What is Stealth Omicron
Stealth Omicron is a sub-variant of the highly transmissible Omicron, which was behind the third wave of Covid-19 in India. The variant is scientifically denoted as BA.2 Omicron variant.
According to preliminary calculations by Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut (SSI), the ‘Stealth Omicron’ could be 1.5 times more infectious than its predecessor.
Hard to detect
As per experts, the ‘Stealth Omicron’ variant is tougher PCR tests. This is because the new variant misses key mutations in spike protein, which are generally necessary for rapid PCR tests to identify the infection.
Stealth Omicron combines two sub-variants of the Omicron version of the Covid virus named BA.1 and BA.2.
How is Stealth Omicron different from original Omicron variant
Though, there is not much data to confirm if stealth Omicron is more severe than its father variant but WHO suggests that the lineage is more transmissible.
Reinfection provides stronger immunity
Several studies have proven that reinfection with BA.2(stealth Omicron) following infection with BA.1 (Omicron) provides stronger protection against reinfection with BA.2.
Affects upper respiratory tract
According to WHO, the stealth Omicron variant primarily affects the upper respiratory tract. However, like Delta, the BA.2 variant does not affect the lungs, which is why patients infected with this lineage don’t experience shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste.