New sub-variant of omicron on the rise

It hasn't been detected in Tennessee
COVID-19 omicron
Posted at 6:36 AM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 09:12:02-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As many areas are seeing a decline in the omicron variant, health officials said a new sub-variant of omicron is on the rise. It's already been found in more than 40 countries.

As of right now, there's no information that it's currently detected in Tennessee, but it has been detected as close as North Carolina.

It's called "BA.2" and is a sub-variant of omicron. It's also known as "stealth" omicron because while it does register positive on a PCR COVID-19 test, scientists aren't able to immediately tell it’s the omicron variant.

Scientists said it's not clear where this mutation originated or whether vaccines are effective against the new strain, but infectious disease experts say that people who had breakthrough omicron infections could have super immunity.

Experts believe omicron is acting like a super booster by protecting people against infection and not just disease moving forward, which they said is a really good sign.

Infectious disease expert Cameron Wolfe told CBS affiliate WNCN it's still too early to tell just how different this new variant is than typical omicron and doesn't want people to panic.

“There’s no early signal to say this is dramatically different than standard omicron. There’s no early to signal to say this makes folks much more sick. Fancy name, but maybe clinically no different," said Wolfe.

Health experts will continue to learn more as more data is available.