'Omicron-like' variant found in Australia - but can't be classed as new strain

The strain has been branded 'stealthy'.

12/9/2021 1:15:00 AM

An ‘Omicron-like’ sub variant of Covid-19 has been identified in Australia 🦠 Scientists have branded it a ‘stealth’ variant, and it has fewer mutations than Omicron itself

The strain has been branded 'stealthy'.

An ‘Omicron-like’ sub variant of coronavirus has been identified in Australia.Scientists were initially confused by the strain, which is similar enough to Omicron to remain in the category, but has a different ‘lineage’.Scientists have branded it a ‘stealth’ variant, with experts in Australia explaining that Omicron has around 30 mutations in its spike protein compared with the original Wuhan strain, while the ‘Omicron-like’ variant has 14.

It is unclear what impact the difference will have on transmissibility or any potential of Omicron to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.It comes as theon Wednesday. It is unclear if any of those cases are in fact ‘Omicron like’.The new sub strain was detected in a man who came to Australia from South Africa, the

Sydney Morning Heraldreported.‘This is amazing work from our scientific teams’, Queensland acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken explained, according to the paper.Queensland Health Minister Yvette D”Ath said both sub strains of Omicron had been found in the Australian state (Picture: Getty Images) headtopics.com

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‘They’ve picked up the differences here, worked through it in a methodical and scientific approach, recognised there are differences between the full and normal Omicron classification, passed that on to the international committee in a really quick timeframe, and it’s now led to a reclassification of Omicron.

Dr Aitken added: ‘It’s got enough to be able to classify it as Omicron, but we don’t know enough about it as to what that means as far as clinical severity or vaccine effectiveness.’Queensland’s health minister, Yvette D’Ath added on Wednesday that both lineages of Omicron had now been found in the Australian state.

Omicron is projected to infect hundreds of thousands of people in Britain in the coming weeks (Picture: Rex/Metro.co.uk)The Guardianreported that infectious disease physician and microbiologist Professor Peter Collignon said the distinction was because of the sub strains having different genes.

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The Australian National University academic explained: ‘If the genes have been deleted, and there’s another lineage where the gene hasn’t been deleted, you may not think it is Omicron when in fact it is.‘I don’t think you can call it a new variant, it’s a sub-set. A new variant signifies a major change from what we’ve had already.’ headtopics.com

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