FACT FINDERS: How is stealth omicron different from regular omicron

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 7:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Stealth omicron, also known as BA.2, is what they call the sister variant of Omicron, or B-A-1. While it is clear they are related, a virologist at Arizona State University says there are still many differences between the two.

”It shares many of the BA.1 mutations of omicron, many of which are the concerning ones that we suspect are responsible for the immune escape evasion. However, it differs from BA.1 by about 30 other mutations. So, it is quite different by itself,” said Efrem Lim, Virologist at Arizona State University.

So, the big questions: do these mutations mean it causes more severe disease and what do these mutations mean for vaccine efficacy? Lim says those are the very questions researchers are racing to answer right now. However, one expert tells the Associated Press there are some indications stealth omicron could be just as contagious or possibly even more contagious than omicron. That is because it is able to compete with omicron in some areas but they do not yet know why.

Denmark is one of those areas, where in mid-July it was accounting for nearly half of the cases. Scientists there say right now, they do not see any differences in terms of hospitalizations.

These are all early observations and much more research needs to be done.

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