Centaurus: Descendant of the Omicron Variant?


The current variant of Covid-19 dominating countries is the Omicron variant. However, scientists have detected multiple sub-variants recently. One of them is the BA.2.75 in Pangeo lineage system. Moreover, the nickname of the variant is Centaurus.

Headlines are now referring to this variant like the Delta or Beta variant. Although WHO has not given it any concerning designation, it is currently being monitored. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) designated it under “variant under monitoring” on 7th July 2022. Moreover, it has been detected in European countries as well, which include UK and Germany.

Does it spread more rapidly?

The experts detected it in May 2022 in India, claiming that it spreads more rapidly in comparison with the Omicron subvariant.

Furthermore, doctoral researcher in virology, Spyros Lytras said,

“I agree with the WHO’s current approach of not assigning any new [variants of concern] to the Omicron subvariants so far. The appearance of Omicron was a very significant event in the evolution of the virus and the pandemic’s progression and more such significant ‘jumps’ are expected in the future. As such, if we were to name every Omicron subvariant with a new Greek letter we’d be undermining the importance of ‘Omicron’ as a group of subvariants.”

Centaurus: Emerging Subvariant

The variant has four hundred genomic sequences, which have been available to date. Furthermore, experts have determined that BA.2.75 has nine mutations and eight of them are new genome coding. They are present on top of the 29 BA.2 mutations already seen in the variant Centaurus has evolved from.

Dr Elling, research group leader at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology said,

“Immune evasion is the prime selective force now we should expect BA.2.75 to affect primarily immune evasion.”

There is very little evidence about this variant, but investigations are being done on the individual effects of the mutations.

Dr Elling further added,

“What the data indicate is that BA.2.75 is particularly suited to overcome the immune protection generated by Delta while it is similar to other Omicron lineages after vaccination. However, it must be said that the data are very preliminary and based on few patients, as well as generated with pseudovirus as opposed to real BA.2.75 isolates, so we really must await further results.”


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