Stealth Omicron more infectious than original Covid strain, experts find

Just when you think Covid has packed its bag for good another new strain comes along.

Scientists have revealed they've found a sub-variant of Omicron that's even more infectious than the last and have dubbed it 'stealth Omicron'.

The sinister nickname actually has a scientific reason behind it.

Unlike its predecessor, this sub-lineage doesn't leave a certain signature on lab tests called an s-gene target failure.

This means that the strain can look like other SARS-CoV-2 variants on the first screen, and so some call the BA.2 mutation the "the stealth variant".

The new sub-variant is staggeringly 10% more infectious than the first Omicron variant which was the most contagious version of the virus we'd seen.

And it's already spreading in Denmark where BA.2 has now replaced classic Omicron as the dominant strain.

Scientists have found that people with BA.2 have a 39% chance of transmitting the virus to someone in their household over the course of a week.

In comparison, people with classic Omicron only have a 29% chance.

The study, which took place over Christmas involved 18,000 people and was carried out by SSI researchers and Danish universities.

Scientists are still keeping tabs on the new strain's transmissibility and watching to see if it produces a more severe illness than other strains.

Despite the new strain, Denmark will become the first country in the EU to lift all coronavirus restrictions today (February 1) and has cited their population's vaccine impressive vaccine uptake as a reason to be cheerful.

Speaking after the publishing of the team's study, SSI doctor Camilla Holten Moller warned the unvaccinated they are more likely to catch the new more infectious strain.

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