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.

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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,