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Watching BA.2

Public health officials are keeping an eye on a subtype of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant, the Washington Post reports.

It adds that the subtype, called BA.2, has been found in Denmark, India, and the UK, and is particularly on the rise in Denmark where, Anders Fomsgaard, a virologist at the State Serum Institute in Denmark, tells the Post, it makes up 65 percent of new cases.

The UK's Independent adds that the UK Health Security Agency has dubbed BA.2 a "variant under investigation," but notes that Meera Chand, incident director at the agency, cautions that new variants are to be expected. According to the Independent, some early data suggests that BA.2 might have a growth advantage over Omicron though UKHSA says further investigation is needed.

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson similarly tells the Post that more data is needed. "Currently, there are insufficient data to determine whether the BA.2 lineage is more transmissible or has a fitness advantage over the BA.1 lineage," Kristen Nordlund, the spokesperson says, adding that BA.2 makes up a low proportion of circulating virus in the US and across the world.

"Variants have come, variants have gone," Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University School of Medicine, adds at the Post. "I don't think there's any reason to think this one is a whole lot worse than the current version of Omicron."