Two new cases of Omicron sub-variant confirmed in California

Two new cases of Omicron sub-variant confirmed in California
Omicron sub-variant BA.2 has been detected in 40 countries so far

Santa Clara health officials on Tuesday confirmed two cases of the Omicron sub-variant BA.2, taking the total confirmed cases in California to 11.

It remains unclear whether the newer sub-variant, which is being monitored by the WHO, will behave differently to the more common BA.1 lineage that has spread widely across the world, said the county’s deputy health officer Dr George Han.

“Early indications say that it probably behaves just like the BA.1 Omicron lineage, but again it’s probably too early to tell, because of the small number of cases that have occurred so far,” he said.

Health officials have released no information about the two people who tested positive for the new sub-variant, reported ABC News.

So far the WHO has identified four lineages of the Omicron variant — B.1.1.529, BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3. While BA.1 is reported to be the more common variant, around 40 countries have now detected BA.2, which is now a variant under investigation.

According to CBS News, since mid-November nearly 15,000 genetic sequences of BA.2 were uploaded to GISAID, the global coronavirus data-sharing platform. Of these, 96 cases were from the US.