BA.2 version of Omicron likely to become dominant in Belgium, says Van Ranst

BA.2 version of Omicron likely to become dominant in Belgium, says Van Ranst
Credit: Belga

The BA.2 version of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus currently accounts for 5% of all Omicron cases in Belgium, reports virologist Marc Van Ranst on Wednesday.

In total, the Omicron variant makes up 98.5% of all Covid infections, while the share of Delta infections has shrunk to 1.5%, according to the latest weekly report on the surveillance of variants of the national reference lab for Covid-19.

"BA.2 will probably also become dominant in our country," Van Ranst, who collaborated on the report, told the Belga News Agency. "But we see no signs at the moment that this phenomenon will lead to a striking new wave of infections. We continue to monitor it."

"The proportion of BA.2 is increasing, but this is currently due to a decrease in BA.1 and BA.1.1 rather than a tangible increase in the total number of BA.2 infections," the report said. "The outlook for the coming weeks can therefore be regarded as positive. Nevertheless, the evolution must be continuously monitored."

At the end of December 2021, the BA.2 version was first discovered and is growing slowly rather than advancing quickly in Belgium. By the end of January, it accounted for about 2% of all infections.

In Denmark, for example, half of all cases are already linked to BA.2 and a Danish study also stated that it is slightly more infectious than the well-known BA.1 version of the Omicron variant.

If one person in a household is infected with BA.2, the average risk that another member of the same household will be infected within the first week is 39%. If, on the other hand, the person is infected with BA.1, the risk is 29%.

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