BA.2.75 a 'scariant,' not the next variant to worry about, experts say

While there will likely be new COVID-19 variants to worry about in the future, omicron relative BA.2.75 is not the next big one to fret over, experts predict. 

"BA.2.75 is a scariant. It's not spreading anywhere besides a couple of provinces in India without BA.5 to compete with," Eric Topol, MD, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego, said in a July 19 tweet, citing a graph based on data from  global data-sharing virus platform GISAID that indicates the strain hasn't spread much outside of several states in India. "There will be other new variants to be concerned about, but it doesn't look like this is one of them." 

Early disease surveillance data showed at least 18 cases of the strain have been identified in seven U.S. states as of July 20. Gobally, researchers have identified 201 cases in at least 10 countries. 

"BA.2.75 has certain mutations that have attracted global attention," Rajeev Jayadevan, MD, co-chair of the National Indian Medical Association, wrote in a tweet. "However, from limited samples available, there are no reports yet of severe disease or excessive spread." 

The variant first caught experts' eye for appearing to have a large number of mutations that may make it more adept than BA.5 at spreading quickly and evading immune protection. 

The World Health Organization has not named it a variant of concern or officially assigned it a name and is closely tracking data on the strain. 

 

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