Covid: the BA.2 subvariant does not cause more severe illness than Omicron, WHO says

Published by Manon C., Graziella L. · Published on 1 March 2022 at 14h38
Although it is more contagious than Omicron, the BA.2 subvariant does not lead to more severe disease than BA.1, according to the WHO’s latest statements.

While this past January Danish authorities underlined the quick spread of the novel Omicron subvariant called BA.2, now dominating in Denmark, this Tuesday February 22, 2022, the World Health Organization addressed on social networks through Maria Van Kerkhove, leading the Covid fight at the WHO.

Therefore, although it is indeed more contagious than the previous variants, the subvariant BA.2 “does not cause more severe disease” than Omicron. “We are not seeing a difference in severity of BA.1 compared to BA.2. So this is a similar level of severity as it relates to risk of hospitalization. And this is really important, because in many countries they’ve had a substantial amount of circulation, both of BA.1 and BA.2,Maria Van Kerkhove said.

To come to such results, the World Health Organization relies on the findings of a committee of experts asked about the matter and contradict the results of a study that has not been peer-reviewed and pre-published recently that tended to show the subvariant BA.2 led to more severe disease in hamsters.

For the record, the subvariant BA.2 is – according to the Danish health authorities – 1.5 times more contagious than Omicron, likely to spread quicker in non-vaccinated people and children.

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