What is omicron BA.2.75, the new COVID variant detected in India?
In addition to India, the variant has been found in 10 other countries
BA.2. 75 has a few mutations on the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein
Top WHO officials are currently tracking the new variant
BA.2.75, a new subvariant in COVID-19's omicron lineage, has been detected in India, according to the World Health Organization. Top medical experts at the United Nations body are currently working to find out more about the new variant.
Soumya Swaminathan, who currently serves as the WHO's Chief Scientist, said that there are still limited sequences available of the sub-variant to analyse. She also announced that it has already been detected in at least 10 countries.
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The BA.2. 75 variant seems to have a few mutations on the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein, according to Swaminathan. "It is still too early to know if this sub-variant has properties of additional immune evasion or indeed of being more clinically severe. We do not know that", the WHO official said in a statement, according to news agency PTI.
The WHO Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution has been tracking the new omicron variant and may designate it as "a separate variant of concern" if necessary.
Have COVID-19 cases increased globally?
According to a COVID update released by the World Health Organization earlier this month, infection rates have again started to spike. The number of new weekly cases increased for the fourth consecutive week after a declining trend since the last peak in March 2022, PTI reported.
The south-east Asia region has been reporting an increasing trend in cases since early June, with over 157,000 new cases reported, a 20% increase as compared to the previous week. Five of 10 countries (50%) for which data are available showed increases in the number of new cases of 20% or greater, with the greatest proportional increases observed in Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
During the week of June 27 to July 3, over 4.6 million cases were reported, a figure similar to that of the previous week. The number of new weekly deaths declined by 12% as compared to the previous week, with over 8100 fatalities reported, according to PTI citing WHO data.