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Can the omicron subvariant reinfect people?

Scientists remain unclear if the omicron variant can reinfect people

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An illustration of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Scientists remain unclear if the omicron variant can reinfect people

Michelle Budge, Deseret News

Can the new omicron subvariant BA.2 infect people who already had the omicron variant? Scientists are still trying to answer that question.

What’s happening: The World Health Organization said it expects to see the BA.2 subvariant of the omicron variant spread worldwide, becoming the dominant COVID-19 variant, CNBC reports.

Yes, but: The WHO said that scientists are still unsure that the COVID-19 subvariant can reinfect people who were previously infected by the omicron variant, according to CNBC.

What they’re saying: “BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1 so we expect to see BA.2 increasing in detection around the world,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, per CNBC.

  • She said the WHO is watching to see if BA.2 causes a new round of infections in countries that already saw a rise in omicron variant cases.

The bigger picture: Dr. Dorit Nitzan, regional emergency director for the WHO, told The Jerusalem Post that the BA.2 subvariant is set to become the most dominant virus strain in the world.

  • “It moves from person to person much faster,” she explained. “If you’re with someone in a room who has the virus, you will get it. The moment you take your mask off to drink and eat — you never know when you’ll get it.”
  • However, she said that there does not seem to be any risk of BA.2 subvariant reinfecting people who had the omicron variant,