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‘Stealth’ variant spreading faster than original Omicron: researchers

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The Omicron subvariant BA.2 is spreading rapidly in around 40 countries, including Singapore, India, Denmark, Sweden and the UK, Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine lecturer Thira Woratanarat said on Monday.

Although there is still insufficient data on its severity and resistance to vaccines, researchers note that Omicron BA.2 is spreading faster than Omicron BA.1, he added.

"The characteristics of Omicron BA.2 are very different from Omicron BA.1, so I would urge scientists to speed up research on its transmission, virulence and vaccine resistance," he wrote on Facebook.

BA.2, which has been nicknamed the “stealth variant” now accounts for almost half of cases in Denmark.

Thira also asked people to keep updated on the Covid-19 situation and protect themselves, even though Omicron is spreading more slowly in Thailand than in other countries.

People should wear two-layered face masks, avoid crowded and poorly ventilated places, avoid meeting with others, and keep at least one metre away from others.

"If you feel ill, you should take a break and see the doctor," he said.

Omicron now has three subvariants, BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3, according to the World Health Organisation.

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Published : January 24, 2022