WHO (World Health Organisation) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that they have found yet another COVID sub-variant in several countries. Known as BA.2.75, it is a sub-variant of Omicron, an India is also one of the countries where the variant has been detected.
“On COVID-19, globally reported cases have increased nearly 30 percent over the past two weeks. Four out of six of the WHO sub-regions saw cases increase in the last week.” ANI quoted Ghebreyesus at a press briefing on Wednesday. “In Europe and America, BA.4 and BA.5 are driving waves. In countries like India a new sub-lineage of BA.2.75 has also been detected, which we’re following.”
According to WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan, the variant was first reported in India, and then in around 10 other countries. “There are still limited sequences available to analyse, but this sub-variant seems to have a few mutations on the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein.” she said in a video posted by WHO on Twitter. “So obviously, that’s a key part of the virus that attaches itself to the human receptor. So we have to watch that. It’s still too early to know if this sub-variant has properties of additional immune evasion or, indeed, of being more clinically severe. We don’t know that. So we have to wait and see.”
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She added that the WHO committee, TAG VE (Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution), is studying data from around the world. They are tracking the sub-variant. If they detect the emergence of a virus that differs from a previous one enough to label it a new variant of concern, the committee will do that.
It is still not the time to consider the pandemic as over, according to WHO Incident Manager Abdi Mahamud. “We’re still in the midst of the pandemic and the virus has a lot of force left. So whether it is the BA.4 or BA.5 or BA.2.75, the virus will continue. It does what it does good,” ANI quoted him.
Further, he added that it is necessary for people to continue masking up. We must stay away from crowded places whenever possible, and take measures to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable, high-risk populations.