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BA.2 Subvariant More Contagious Than Original Omicron Variant, Denmark Study Finds

COVID-19 Virus
Update on Omicron Variant

January 31, 2022 — The BA.2 subvariant of Omicron appears 33% more transmissible than the more common BA.1 Omicron coronavirus variant, according to preprint findings published in a Danish study. Researchers calculated the probability for spreading an infection within a household was 39% for BA.2 versus 29% for BA.1.

Not only was BA.2 more contagious than the original BA.1 strain among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, but the relative rise in susceptibility to infection was considerably greater in vaxxed people than unvaxxed people, according to the study. That suggests the subvariant BA.2 is even better at escaping vaccine protection than BA.1, which was already significantly more contagious than any other Covid variant.

“We conclude that Omicron BA.2 is inherently substantially more transmissible than BA.1, and that it also possesses immune-evasive properties that further reduce the protective effect of vaccination against infection,” the study’s researchers told Reuters.

In Denmark, BA.1 has been pushed aside by BA.2, which became the dominant strain in the second week of January 2022. Now South Africa, which first discovered the original BA.1 Omicron variant, reported BA.2 levels are increasing, but against the backdrop of decreasing total infections. This somewhat alleviates US concerns BA.2 could stall a swift exit from the Omicron wave. 

For the week ending January 29, 2022, the BA.2 Omicron lineage accounted for less than 1% of cases in the United States. Outside the US, BA.2 has overtaken BA.1 in Denmark, Nepal, and the Philippines as the most frequently detected coronavirus variant, and has growing presence in India, the United Kingdom, South  Africa and several other countries.

Saliva Covid Test Better Than Nasal Swabs To Detect Omicron. 4U Health. Updated February 24, 2022.

5 Reasons To Keep PCR Home COVID Test Kits on Hand. 4U Health. Updated December 6, 2021.

Ditch Nose Swabs for a Home Saliva PCR Covid Test Kit. 4U Health. Updated December 6, 2021.

About 4U Health

4U Health offers at-home lab testing to help you feel like your best self. Visit us at 4uHealth.com to learn about our COVID-19 Antibody Self-Collection At Home Test Kit, explore healthy living and wellness topics, and view our full at-home lab testing menu.

If you’re interested in hospital grade home PCR COVID test kits to detect COVID-19 (including Omicron and its other variants), check out 4U Health’s COVID-19 Active Infection Self-Collection Test. It’s approved for children 5+ and adults alike. For the timeliest results, we recommend having our “just-in-case” saliva kit stocked in your medicine cabinet so you can test on your terms. Overnight shipping is included and official digital results are typically within 24 hours of receipt by the lab.

Updated: February 24, 2022