New omicron variant more transmissible between unvaccinated individuals
A new study of the recently discovered BA.2 omicron subvariant finds the strain is more contagious but also less likely to be spread by vaccinated individuals than the original.
Overall, the BA.2 subvariant has been found to spread easier across all types of groups, regardless of sex, age, household size, or vaccine status, according to Danish scientists.
In other words, the new strain is more contagious for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, however vaccinated individuals don’t seem to be passing it on quite as readily.
Scientists came to this conclusion after finding transmission rates of BA.2 were higher among unvaccinated individuals, even though vaccinated individuals were actually more susceptible to infection.
Vaccinated individuals who have received a booster shot are even less likely to pass on the BA.2 strain, scientists said.
“This indicates that after a breakthrough infection, vaccination protects against further transmission, and more so for BA.2 than BA.1,” the scientists found, reports CNBC.
The indication is that unvaccinated individuals carry a higher viral load of BA.2, while the higher rates of infection for vaccinated individuals show the strain is able to evade vaccine protection more than BA.1.
BA.2 variant infections have also been shown to generally be milder than if you were to get sick from the delta variant, and even more-so for those vaccinated, providing optimism.
“The combination of high incidence of a relative innocuous subvariant has raised optimism,” the scientists wrote, reports CNBC.
More than half of the states in the U.S. have reported cases involving the BA.2 variant, with a total of 194 cases so far, according to a global COVID-19 variant database, reports CNBC.