The Omicron BA.2 sub-variant of COVID-19 appears to be more infectious than the original BA.1 sub-variant, but does not cause more severe disease, the head of Africa’s top public health body said on Thursday citing data from South Africa.
“South Africa is reporting that it is more transmissible than the BA.1 variant, but interestingly and very encouragingly the severity seems to be the same,” said Dr John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
South Africa was one of the first countries to detect the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has since swept around the globe and become dominant in most places.
Although South Africa is well over the peak of its Omicron wave, its daily number of new infections has stabilised around 3,000 per day, a higher level than that seen at the tail end of previous waves of COVID-19 infections.
Nkengasong said the trend may be linked to the BA.2 sub-variant, but did not elaborate.