Scientists have called for calm after it was revealed a new Omicron subvariant is spreading through Asia and Europe
The emergence of Omicron in December 2021 saw the introduction of tough anti-Covid measures, as it was able to multiply 70 times faster than the previous variant, Delta.
Now, new data suggests ‘stealth Covid’ (BA.2) could be even more transmissible.
Trevor Bedford, a computational virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in the US, wrote on Twitter that BA.2 represents roughly 82 percent of cases in Denmark but just 9 percent in the UK.
Despite this, there is no evidence it is more severe than other variants and early signs show existing vaccines are effective against BA.2.
Why is it called stealth Covid?
As the name suggests, stealth Covid got its moniker as a result of being notoriously hard to detect.
Lateral flow and PCR tests have become a part of every day life for millions, but even these highly accurate detection tools may not work on the Omicron subvariant.
Omicron is relatively easy to track, because of the deletion of a spike genome in its make up. This means PCR tests can easily give a positive result without the need for further genome sequencing.
However, stealth Covid appears not to have this feature and means it is hard to track. Extra lab analysis is likely to be needed to detect stealth Covid.
Symptoms of stealth Covid
Unfortunately for those looking to confirm whether you have Omicron or the stealth variety, it remains unclear to whether BA.2 causes symptoms unique to the subvariant.
Instead, the public have been asked to remain vigilant and monitor symptoms consistent with the likes of Delta and Omicron.
the eight main signs of Covid-19 remain :
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue
- Muscle aches and pains
- Runny nose
- Loss of smell or taste
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important that you get tested for Coronavirus.