New omicron COVID subvariant BA.2 detected in Twin Cities area wastewater
A new form of the highly contagious omicron variant has been detected in Twin Cities wastewater but at low levels.
The subvariant, known as omicron BA.2, is 30-50% more infectious than its predecessor, but researchers are still trying to determine whether it is more severe.
It is also unclear whether it will evade immunity protection offered by previous COVID-19 illness, including for the many thousands of Minnesotans infected during the recent spike of omicron cases, and via vaccination.
The BA.2 subvariant has been found in most states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and accounts for nearly 4% of cases nationwide.