FILE PHOTO: People get COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses in Chicago

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Health this week reported cases of a COVID-19 omicron stealth variant but right now, the science and health community knows little about the effects it could have.

“The Stealth variant, this is actually a sub-lineage or it’s related to – derived from the Omicron variant,” said State Epidemiologist Christina Tan. “It’s called BA2, and there’ve been something like about 36 states that’ve so far identified Stealth variant through the routine variant surveillance Significance of Stealth variant is unknown at this time in terms of whether it causes different presentation of disease. It’s a bit of a misnomer calling it a Stealth variant.”

What is the omicron stealth variant?

“There’s yet another twist in the pandemic: The omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, now has a “subvariant” that seems to spread more quickly than any other version of the coronavirus to date,” Vox reported. “The good news for now is that vaccines still appear to protect against it. But because it’s so transmissible, scientists are racing to figure out what harm it could cause.”

“The World Health Organization does not yet consider BA.2 to be a distinct “variant of concern” but is continuing to monitor its spread. BA.2 is beginning to replace the original Omicron strain in many countries. It is now the dominant variant in Denmark, which recorded more than 50,000 new infections in just one day last week,” National Geographic reported.

“We can actually pick up this particular variant through our routine testing. It’s a little bit different from its parent Omicron in the sense that it doesn’t have the same type of mutation that gives you this – what they call the S-gene dropout, but the important news it that we still can pick up this variant. We are detecting this. Only time will tell in terms of what the characteristics of BA2 illness is,” Tan added.

The New York Times this week said there’s now cause for alarm when it comes to the omicron stealth variant.

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