The omicron BA.2 sub-variant makes up almost 100% of new coronavirus infections in South Africa, Tulio de Oliveira, a bio-informatics professor who runs gene-sequencing institutions and advises the government on the pandemic, said.
“As expected, omicron BA.2 takes over in South Africa, close to 100% of the new genomes,” de Oliveira, who announced the discovery of the original omicron variant on November 25, said on Twitter. “What does it mean?”
While BA.2 appears to be more transmissible than the original omicron variant there is no indication that it causes more severe disease. De Oliveira has previously said that it could cause a second surge of infections within the omicron-driven wave.
As expected, Omicron BA.2 takes over in South Africa, close to 100% of the new genomes. What does it mean? — Tulio de Oliveira (@Tuliodna) February 9, 2022
Still, while South Africa was the first country to experience a major omicron wave the number of infections has tapered off. On Wednesday the country reported 3 628 new cases, down from a record of almost 27 000 on December 15. The original omicron strain is itself significantly more transmissible than earlier variants such as delta, but appears to cause milder disease.
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