Dallas, TX – UT Southwestern confirmed two cases of the new Omicron ‘Stealth’ sub-variant in North Texas.
According to the health experts, the Omicron sub-variant labeled as BA.2 is called ‘stealth’ because is very difficult to detect even with PCR testing.
UT Southwestern didn’t provide additional details about the patients, their vaccination status or if they have developed symptoms.
“There are two things that I think grabbed scientists’ attention,” said UT Southwestern Associate Professor Dr. James Cutrell.
“The first one was that this BA.2 variant had some collection of different mutations in the spike protein that made it a little bit harder to pick up on some of the standard commercial PCR tests that were being done on omicron.”
“The second thing that I think got people’s attention was, particularly in Denmark and in some of the countries in Europe, it seemed like that as a proportion of the total cases, this BA.2 was increasing in its percentage. So that’s led some people to speculate that it could be that this variant could have some slight transmission, or might be slightly more contagious than the original omicron variant,” said Dr. Cutrell.
Although the new sub-variant is very new and not much is known about it, Danish health experts claim that the sub-variant is very similar to the Omicron variant. According to them, those infected with the sub-variant have the same chances of hospitalization and death.
The vaccines are expected to provide the same protection against the new sub-variant as they do against the original Omicron variant.
The sub-variant is detected in many countries, but the number of cases of still very low for additional examinations. The prevalence of this variant here in the U.S. is very low, with fewer than 0.5% of all cases.
WHO recently announced that the ‘stealth’ sub-variant is not considered a “variant of concern” and WHO officials don’t expect it will change the trajectory of the pandemic at all.
As we already reported, the positivity rate and the number of new Covid-19 cases in the North Texas area are slowly declining, but the number of hospitalizations continues to grow additionally overwhelming the North Texas hospitals amid staffing shortage.