No End of COVID Pandemic in Sight? Two New Sub-Variants of Omicron Tracked in Poland
Scientists are currently keeping an eagle eye on the Omicron sub-variants BA.1 and BA.2 amid a rising spike in such infections across the globe.
Polish Deputy Minister of Health Waldemar Kraska has announced that there are now "two new sub-variants" of the Omicron strain of COVID-19
in Poland and that it remains unclear how they will proceed in the immediate future.
Speaking to the Polish news network TVN24, he also argued that "the coronavirus will stay with us for a long time" and that "it will not leave our everyday life so easily".
"It is difficult to judge what will happen in the fall and whether a new mutation of COVID-19 will appear by that time", Kraska said.
According to him, the Omicron variant currently makes up 96% of confirmed coronavirus cases in Poland.
The remarks came after Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s COVID-19 technical lead, told reporters last week that the so-called BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron "is more transmissible than BA.1", which is why the WHO "expects to see BA.2 increasing in detection around the world".
The BA.2 strain has already been detected in at least 47 countries, with increasing cases in such nations as India, the UK, France, Denmark, and Sweden.
In Britain, BA.2 has been described as a "variant under investigation" by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), while in Denmark, the country's Health Ministry has already reported more than 50,000 such cases over the past several weeks.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran, for his part, asserted that the BA.2 strain doesn't look as if it is "a game-changer" because, he said, COVID variants appear on the scene "fairly regularly".
BA.2 was first identified in the Philippines in mid-December 2021, and, along with BA.1, is thought to have more than 32 mutations, with about half of them being part of the spike protein that interacts with human cells and is the key to the process of the coronavirus entering a body.