Stealth omicron: What we know about the sub-variant

The World Health Organization is warning of a new sub-variant of the omicron strain of COVID-19, called “stealth” omicron variant.

According to the WHO, the omicron has three sub-variants: BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3. As of a month ago, BA.1 made up 99 percent of the cases the WHO sequenced, but now they said BA.2 could be on the rise.

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In Norway, public health leaders said cases of the BA.2 sub-variant jumped from seven on January 4 to 611 about two weeks later.

Dr. Roberto Colon, Chief Medical Officer at Miami Valley Hospital, told News Center 7′s Molly Koweek that it is too early to know whether the sub-variant has a “any different behavior.”

Colon said that the stealth variant is already showing that it is harder for the PCR and antigen tests to detect.

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“Really what we’re seeing is just that it is spreading quickly, just like we saw with omicron. The problem is, if it has limited ability to be detected, it may be difficult to identify who is truly infected and could allow that infection to go unchecked, because people have a false sense of security,” Colon said.

Colon said the stealth omicron is a sub-variant because it not different enough from omicron to be its own variant.