The pandemic may feel like it's over but there is still much work to be done as new COVID-19 mutations bring forward concerns, like the spawn of omicron subvariant BA.2.75, dubbed “Centaurus.”
Although it was the strain previously worrying experts, it is no longer a threat, Dr. Raj Rajnarayanan, assistant dean of research and associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology, told Fortune.
But its child, BA.2.75.2, hasn’t been eliminated as a threat.
Why is BA.2.75.2 worrying experts?
According to the report, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the emerging mutation was “suspicious” and could become a variant of concern in the fall.
It's evolving similarly to BA.5, which is the dominant strain behind 83% of reported infections in the U.S., as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.
BA.2.75.2, for now, is expanding its reach in India and accounts for about 0.5% of cases worldwide. The World Health Organization hasn’t separated this mutation from BA.2.75, but it is singled out under “Omicron subvariant under monitoring.”
One preprint study, published in mid-September, found that the mutation exhibited a tendency to extensively escape neutralizing antibody treatments authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, except for one — bebtelovimab.
But the findings of another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine were more encouraging. Bebtelovimab was also reported to work against the variant as well as other antiviral treatments like remdesivir, molnupiravir and Paxlovid.
What are the omicron subvariants of concern?
Omicron has over 200 sublineages being monitored. Here are the subvariants driving cases in the U.S.:
- BA.5 — 83.1% of cases.
- BA.4.6 — 11.9% of cases.
- BF.7 — 2.3% of cases.
- BA.4 — 1.4% of cases.
- BA.2.75 — 1.4% of cases.
What are the top omicron symptoms to look out for?
As I previously reported, omicron subvariants have a shorter incubation period, which is why the symptoms may appear earlier. The worst symptom is a “throat on fire,” said University of California, San Francisco’s Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.
The most common omicron-related symptoms are:
- Runny nose.