The Omikron variant of the coronavirus is moving into higher gear in the Netherlands, RIVM predicts. Within a week or two, a new, more contagious sub-variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 will have become dominant in the Netherlands. This follows from calculations based on new data from the so-called Germ Surveillance, the national genetic monitoring of virus variants.
The new subvariant is called BA.2 and belongs to the Omikron family of SARS-CoV-2. Until now, in the Netherlands we mainly had to deal with the BA.1 sub variant of Omikron, which has largely supplanted the previously dominant Delta variant since December. The BA.2 share in the Netherlands is still a few percent, but it is expected to grow exponentially soon.
In Denmark, the transition from BA.1 to BA.2 has already taken place. BA.2 now accounts for three quarters of all infections there. Danish research shows that the new sub-variant is much more contagious than the previous one from the Omikron family.
Vaccination seems to protect slightly less against infection with this subvariant, but unvaccinated people appear to be extra sensitive to picking up and passing on this virus. For the time being, there are no indications that BA.2 is more pathogenic than BA.1.
Read more: Another new virus variant: a cousin of Omikron
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on 5 February 2022
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of February 5, 2022
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