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BA.2's Spread

An Omicron subvariant now makes up about a third of COVID-19 cases, the Wall Street Journal reports.

BA.2, the subvariant, was deemed a "variant under investigation" by the UK Health Security Agency in January after it was spotted in Denmark, India, and the UK. At that time, it accounted for 65 percent of new cases in Denmark. According to the Journal, BA.2 now makes up nearly all — about 92 percent — of Danish COVID-19 cases and 35 percent of global cases submitted to GISAID.

There is increasing evidence, the Journal adds, that BA.2 is more infectious than the BA.1 Omicron variant. However, BA.2, like BA.1, does not appear to cause the same level of severe disease as the Delta variant that preceded it, though there are some concerns BA.2 can better invade hamster lung cells in lab studies and better evade monoclonal antibody drug treatments, it notes.

The World Health Organization says BA.2 is a cause for caution as many governments consider lifting virus-related restrictions, the Journal adds. It notes that Denmark, after lifting restrictions, saw a rise in deaths among people infected with COVID-19.

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