'It's concerning': Health expert braces for impact of emerging omicron subvariant

By , KCBS Radio

Multiple cases of the new omicron mutation, dubbed BA.2, have been reported in California, troubling health officials.

The subvariant is the latest COVID-19 mutation to threaten the world and has caused caseloads to spike in Denmark, as nearly half of current infections trace back to BA.2.

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"I'm watching that with some concern," Dr. James Lawler, Executive Director of International Programs and Innovation at the Global Center for Health Security at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, told KCBS Radio's "Ask An Expert."

"The experience of Denmark where they've had a large proportion of their cases have been BA.2 recently, it's concerning because their case counts have continued to go up when other countries have seen a peak and decline," he said.

BA.2 is further from the original coronavirus than previous mutations, but health experts have not yet declared if the virus is more transmissible, severe or has the ability to evade vaccines.

"That particular variant seems to be somewhat drifted antigenically away from the original omicron and other forms of the virus even more than we’ve seen previously," Lawler explained.

For now, Lawler said it is too soon to understand how much of a risk BA.2 will pose, or if it's going to cause significant infection.

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