Based on available data of transmission, severity, reinfection, diagnostics, therapeutics and impacts of vaccines, the group reinforced that the BA.2 sublineage should continue to be considered a variant of concern and that it should remain classified as Omicron. The group emphasized that BA.2 should continue to be monitored as a distinct sublineage of Omicron by public health authorities….
While reaching the above determination, the TAG-VE also looked at preliminary laboratory data from Japan generated using animal models without any immunity to SARS-CoV-2 which highlighted that BA.2 may cause more severe disease in hamsters compared to BA.1. They also considered real-world data on clinical severity from South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Denmark, where immunity from vaccination or natural infection is high: in this data, there was no reported difference in severity between BA.2 and BA.1.
Let’s hope they have got that right, because the numbers from Denmark don’t look good….