New lineage of Omicron variant found: What does this mean?
A new lineage of the Omicron variant has been found in several samples in Australia's Queensland, as scientists across the world are engaged in decoding more about the new variant, which appears to be more transmissible than Delta. According to reports from Australia's Queensland, this new lineage has been found in a traveller who arrived from South Africa. This lineage has about half the gene variations of the original Omicron.
Here is what we know about this new lineage and what does this mean
1. The two lineages are now known as BA. 1 and BA. 2, the original Omicron known as BA.1.
2. Some mutations are common for both variants. Based on the mutations present in these two lineages, some reports claimed the new lineage is difficult to be detected in a typical screening. Scientists allayed fears by saying that this does not mean that if a person gets infected by this lineage of Omicron, they will not test positive. In RT-PCR tests, they will test positive in both lineages.
3. Senior scientist at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Vinod Scaria, said there is nothing to be scared of about the new lineage. This is for better epidemiological surveillance.
4. A new lineage is not a new variant, scientists have clarified. It is a subset
5. A new lineage may or may not have any impact on the spread of the infection. Delta too had many lineages, including Delta Plus, which did not have more transmissibility than Delta.
Omicron, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, has triggered fresh apprehension across the world as the variant is believed to be spreading faster than Delta. However, the variant has not led to severe illness and scientists are of the view that Omicron might indicate that the pandemic is now gradually moving to the endemic stage where the infection will come every year. Omicron has not caused shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell in any of the cases across the world. Omicron patients, with mild symptoms like tiredness, sore throat, are mostly recovering from home.