UKHSA: Omicron sub-lineage ‘variant under investigation’ in UK as cases sweep Denmark

(Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

​​The UK Health Security Agency has designated the Omicron variant sub-lineage, known as BA.2, as a variant under investigation – but current case rates are very low.

UK health authorities have dubbed the Omicron variant sub-lineage as a variant under investigation but noted low case rates at the moment. 

Nearly half of all Covid cases in Denmark are now this form of Omicron, dubbed BA.2.

However, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that just 53 sequences had been identified in the UK by 10 January.

The authority said it was doing further analysis.

Early research in Denmark has found there is no difference in hospitalisations between ‘original’ Omicron and BA.2, plus vaccines are thought to be effective against fighting severe illness.

Danish health officials have said more research is needed to work out whether BA.2 could be even more transmissible.

It is expected that viruses will evolve and mutate, the UKHSA’s incident director, Dr Meera Chand, said. 

“Our continued genomic surveillance allows us to detect them and assess whether they are significant,” added Dr Chand.

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