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Whether the rapid spread of Omicron and its variant will help push Coronavirus from the pandemic phase to a more manageable endemic stage is still too early to tell.
WHO recently announced the presence of BA.3 subvariant of Omicron. WHO’s top infectious disease expert, Maria Van Kerkhove, said, “We are tracking Omicron in several sublineages. Around the world, the most prominent sublineages are BA.1, BA.1.1, and BA.2. BA.3 is also prominent.
Every virus mutates at some point, and mutation is why new variants of a virus are formed. As viruses evolve into variants, they may split into sub-variants or sub-lineages. It has been reported that the Delta variant of Coronavirus has over 200 different subvariants. Currently, the Omicron variant has BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, and B.1.1.529 sub-variants, of which BA.1 dominated a few months ago. WHO experts are examining the severity of the BA.3 sublineage.
The WHO expert added that people have heard about the Japanese study that came out as a preprint. In this study, hamsters are the focus of an experimental study. The researchers were trying to determine whether or not these experimental conditions caused more severe disease in hamsters. We are also looking at severity in the real world,” she added.
The presence of the BA.3 sub-lineage was also discussed in a study published in the Journal of Medical Virology on January 18, 2022.
“Our study found no specific mutations for the BA.3 lineage in spike protein. A combination of mutations in BA.1 and BA.2 spike proteins is responsible, the study reports.
According to the study, the BA.3 sub-lineage was first detected in northwest South Africa. As of January 11, 2022, of the total genome sequences submitted to the GISAID database, only 0.013% were BA.3 Omicron subvariants, and the highest number was BA.1.
The common symptoms are sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, headache, body ache, and mild fever.