Covid, the Omicron Ba.2.75 sub-variant arrives: here’s what we know so far

Covid, the Omicron Ba.2.75 sub-variant arrives: here’s what we know so far

According to early scientific studies, it appears even more contagious than BA.5 and more capable of overcoming the antibody barrier created by vaccines and previous infections

A new sub-variant of Covid emerges, it comes from India and has been baptized as Omicron Ba.2.75. And, above all, it runs fast: about 5 times more than the latest variant in circulation, Omicron 5. This is what emerges from the latest research by epidemiologists and geneticists who follow the evolution of Sars-Cov-2. A sign that the virus continues to change and, with it, also the variants. An evolution of the coronavirus, this of Ba.2.75, which should not be underestimated.

At the moment, all variants around the world are Omicron sub-lineages. In particular, after a few weeks of prevalence of BA.2, BA.5 is gaining ground.

What we know – It is five times faster than the Omicron 5 variant. But the confirmed cases are still few, as of July 4th they would be about forty. Aside from a larger group in India, the geographic distribution is already international. The infections with the new sub-variant have touched Australia, Canada, Germany, UK and New Zealand (which have deposited at least one sequence), which would exclude sequencing errors.

The analysis of the variant in question was made by Tom Peacock, virologist of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London: BA.2.75 has 45 mutations in common with BA.5 and 15 peculiar ones. Among these he has 8 mutations in the spike (BA.5 has “only” 3). In particular, it changes from the “parent” BA.2 with two key mutations: G446S and R493Q. G446S, synthesize scientists from the Protein and Virus Evolution Laboratory of Fred Hutch (USA), is in one of the most powerful antibody escape sites induced by current vaccines that still neutralize BA.2.

Diffusion – The forecasts for this new variant are therefore worrying. It has a much better chance of overcoming the antibody barriers created by vaccines and recent infections. The emergence and rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants, according to a study by science, can significantly affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. The hard truth is that a huge number of variants have spread since the first spread of the Wuhan “mother” strain and it is very unlikely that vaccines can create resistance for all of them, but they remain very useful to protect us from severe Covid disease. In essence, this implies greater difficulty in curbing infections, which means greater transmissibility of the virus and more people who get sick again.