omicron: Omicron’s new ‘BA.2.75.2’ variant growing quickly in India, becoming more transmissible, immune evasive: Scientists


India’s genome sequencing agency, INSACOG, has warned that Omicron’s BA.2.75, the most-dominant subvariant currently in India, is mutating further and may become more transmissible and immune evasive in future.

According to a ToI report, Maharashtra’s coordinator for genome sequencing, Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, has confirmed that BA.2.75 Covid variant is “mutating further”. Recently, an immunologist at Peking University had tweeted that BA.2.75.2 is currently the most immune-evasive strain tested so far. “It’s vying for dominance by packing in more immune evasive mutations,” he said.

Experts first detected this variant in India in May, where it was reportedly spreading more rapidly than other Omicron subvariants. BA.2.75 has spawned what has been designated as BA.2.75.2. The BA.2.75.2 subvariant is now present in eight countries including India, Chile, England, Singapore, Spain and Germany.

Experts said BA.2.75.2 is also trying to establish itself among other Omicron sublineages by picking up more mutations. BA.2.75 and its sub lineages are currently found in 90% of patient samples sequenced in Maharashtra.

Another INSACOG scientist said, “Experts globally are tracking BA.2.75.2, because BA.2.75 went on to replace BA.4 and BA.5. This makes BA.2.75.2 more transmissible than them.”

Experts have also warned that subvariants will keep emerging in future, which will make the older vaccines lest potent and may need an update. This may require production of second-generation vaccines to tackle the newer variants or subvariants.

Scientists warn the coronavirus will linger far into the future, partly because it is getting better and better at getting around immunity from vaccination and past infection.

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