The BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is estimated to make up nearly 12% of all COVID-19 variants circulating in the U.S., the latest genomic surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate.
Last month the World Health Organization (WHO) cited early data to warn that BA.2 is more transmissible than the original BA.1 sub-variant of Omicron.
Based on data from South Africa, Dr. John Nkengasong, the head of Africa's top public health body, said last month that BA.2 does not appear to cause more severe disease than the original BA.1 sub-variant.
BA.1.1, a second-generation sub-lineage of the Omicron variant, currently accounts for ~74% of sequenced cases, the CDC data for the week ending Mar. 05, indicate.
Recent studies indicated that BA.2 is resistant to nearly all monoclonal antibodies developed for COVID-19, including sotrovimab from GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ:VIR) which was earlier thought to be effective against the original Omicron variant.
In late February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned against the use of sotrovimab in places with COVID-19 variants that are not suspectable to the drug.