After some reprieve, the world is once again witnessing the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases across many countries. Omicron subvariant BA.2, also known as Stealth Omicron, is said to be behind the 4th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Deltacron variant, however is said to be not behind the spurt in Covid cases.
Doubts have arisen about the fourth wave in India as the cases of Omicron sub-variants increase. Health Minister of Karnataka and IIT Kanpur have already warned that the 4th wave in India could come in the month of August. At the same time, experts have described two symptoms of Omicron sub-variant as the main ones to watch out for.
What is BA.2?
A sublineage of the Omicron family has three subvariants – BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3. BA.1 was the original Omicron variant that took off and spread around the world, being highly transmissible. But now, BA.2 also known as Stealth Omicron has gained a foothold in many countries, leading to a rises in case numbers.
One of the most interesting things about the three subvariants is that each is as different to the other as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta are from each other. The three Omicron sublineages, which were detected at the same time in South Africa, share 39 mutations. But each has some of their own mutations too.
In the case of BA.1 there are 20, BA.2 has another 27 and BA.3 has 13 more. BA.2 spreads faster than BA.1, about 30% more according to estimates, which means it is easier to catch. Scientists think its extra mutations help to make it more transmissible.
“Omicron BA.2 is about 1.4 times more infectious than BA.1,” wrote former World Health Organisation scientist Prof Adrian Esterman on Twitter.
Stealth Omicron symptoms
Many research suggest Omicron sub-variant BA.2 has two special characteristics, which includes dizziness and extreme tiredness.
Both symptoms can appear within two to three days of being infected with the virus and can last longer in infected patients than before.
BA.2 sub-variant or Stealth Omicron affects more on the stomach and intestines of the people infected, leading to digestive problems.
Infected patients are complaining of six gut-related sicknesses – nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, heartburn and bloating.
Loss of appetite, back pain, abdominal bloating, swelling of the intestine, body cramps and depression are other symptoms faced.
Besides, other symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, blood clot formation in the head, muscle and joint pain, high blood pressure.
Persons infected with Omicron BA.2 sub-variant do not face symptoms like loss of smell or taste and shortness of breath.
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat or hoarse voice
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
A loss of appetite
Covid toes or fingers