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Omicron subvariant has obvious transmission benefit: UKHSA

The UK Well being safety company says early evaluation doesn’t discover distinction in vaccine effectiveness in opposition to symptomatic illness between Omicron subtypes.

The BA.2 subtype of the Omicron coronavirus variant seems to have a considerable progress benefit over the presently predominant BA.1 kind, the UK’s Well being Safety Company has stated.

UKHSA stated on Friday there was an elevated progress price of BA.2 compared with BA.1 in all areas of England the place there have been sufficient instances to match them, and that “the obvious progress benefit is presently substantial”.

“We now know that BA.2 has an elevated progress price which may be seen in all areas in England,” stated Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor for the UKHSA.

The company stated there was no knowledge on the severity of BA.2 in contrast with BA.1, however reiterated {that a} preliminary evaluation didn’t discover a distinction in vaccine effectiveness in opposition to symptomatic illness between the 2 Omicron subtypes.

The fast unfold of BA.1 fuelled an Omicron wave which pushed day by day infections to report highs within the UK in December, displacing the beforehand dominant Delta variant.

Nevertheless, hospitalisations didn’t rise on the identical price, owing to inhabitants immunity by means of vaccination and former an infection, in addition to Omicron’s decrease severity.

The UKHSA stated {that a} separate evaluation confirmed that between November 24 and January 19, nearly all of intensive care admissions from COVID-19 had Delta infections, whilst Omicron was beginning to dominate the variety of instances.

It additionally discovered {that a} rise in instances of Omicron in care properties had not been related to a rise in hospital admissions.

“Our findings recommend the present wave of Omicron infections is unlikely to result in a significant surge in extreme illness in care dwelling populations with excessive ranges of vaccine protection and/or pure immunity,” UKHSA stated, noting that the findings have been based mostly on BA.1 resulting from restricted numbers of BA.2 instances within the examine.

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