As viruses mutate, which is part of the virus norm, the Stealth Omicron mutated from the Omicron variant. If one does a search on “Stealth Omicron” at the World Health Organization (WHO) website and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nothing is found. Is this new variant living up to its name and sneaking its way around the coronavirus pandemic?
Since the Delta variant emerged, which came before the Omicron variant, over 200 sub-lineages mutated from that variant. This is what viruses do – they create their own ancestral type lineage which then expands out into sub-lineages. So now it is Omicron’s turn to do just that and has so far split into 3 sub-lineages – BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3.
The Stealth Omicron (BA.2), was first detected in the Philippines back in November 2021. Since then it has been detected the most in Denmark where it was observed that this new Omicron subvariant may be one-and-a-half times more contagious than the original Omicron subvariant. Despite the higher infection rate, hospital statistics, however, have not yet been affected with any surge. Following Denmark, the Stealth Omicron has also been found in India, Sweden, and Singapore. In the US, 3 cases of the Stealth Omicron have been reported in the state of Florida.
To date, the Stealth Omicron has not been classified as a variant of concern or a variant of interest.
This may explain why a search on the WHO and CDC websites are turning up no information. So why did BA.2 get such an mysterious name as Stealth? Unlike the original Omicron variant BA.1, the Stealth Omicron BA.2 is harder to track and detect with tests.
Right now, the original Omicron variant makes up most of the cases around the world – 98%. However, with Denmark reporting in the lead, the Stealth Omicron has taken over as the most dominant strain causing infections. Although it is not known if the effects of this new variant are more severe or not, it is showing signs that it may be more contagious.