Covid-19 tests show the Omicron BA.2 subvariant is gaining ground in US

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WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – The Omicron subvariant BA.2 is persevering with to realize ground in the US, in line with Covid-19 tests sequenced over the final two weeks.

Helix, a San Diego-based genomics agency, has been watching the BA.2 variant because it first popped up in the US in early January.

Although it was initially gradual to take maintain, Helix now estimates that fifty per cent to 70 per cent of all Covid circumstances nationwide are BA.2.

Dr Will Lee, Helix’s chief science officer, stated any such surveillance is important and can assist arm the US healthcare system in opposition to future variants.

Data from the UK – the place BA.2 has already brought on circumstances to spike – show the nation’s rise in infections started round the similar time that BA.2 surpassed the 50 per cent mark of total circumstances.

So far, the variant seems to be no extra extreme than the preliminary Omicron pressure, however there’s concern about its potential to reinfect individuals and its hyperlinks to lengthy Covid.

Cases are nonetheless dropping total in the US, however some well being consultants are apprehensive that decline received’t final for lengthy.

Already, circumstances are starting to climb in New York City, the place BA.2 accounts for a bigger share of circumstances than in different elements of the nation, in line with information from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC has but to replace its variant surveillance information for this previous week, however the company has reported BA.2 practically doubling in prevalence every week since early February.

The CDC most lately stated BA.2 made up 23.1 per cent of circumstances for the week ending March 12.

Variant surveillance at Helix is funded by the CDC and its sequencing information is one among many the company takes into consideration when creating its Nowcast estimates every week.

According to Helix, the agency is capable of course of as much as 150,000 Covid-19 tests per day throughout the nation.

Dr Lee, the Helix scientist, stated that though he expects circumstances to rise in coming weeks, he doesn’t anticipate as important a spike as was brought on by the first omicron pressure.

That’s as a result of the immunity individuals have already constructed up via vaccines and prior infections.

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