Pakistan has reported the first case of a subvariant of the Omicron strain of the Coronavirus, the National Institute of Health (NIH), which is now overseeing the country’s pandemic response, has confirmed.
According to a statement by the NIH, Pakistan has detected the first case of BA.2.12.1 of the Omicron variant. This relatively new Omicron subvariant is the most mutated strain yet and is spreading rapidly in different countries, including the US.
In addition to mask-wearing in crowded places, the best preventive measure to contain the spread of the new strain is the COVID-19 vaccination. Citizens should get initial and booster shots of the Coronavirus vaccines at the earliest, the NIH statement added.
NIH has detected the first case of Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1. This new sub-variant is causing increasing number of cases in different countries.
— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) May 9, 2022
BA.2.12.1 is the subvariant of the BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron stain. BA.2 has 53 mutations in comparison to the original COVID-19 strain. Out of 53 mutations, 29 are in the spike protein. The BA.2.12.1 subvariant is expected to have more than 53 mutations, which makes it the most mutated Omicron subvariant yet.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa in November last year. The B.1.1.529 took over the world within a few weeks. Another Omicron subvariant BA.1.1 pushed emerged after a couple of months.
Earlier this year in March BA.2 Omicron subvariant was detected. It turned out to be 30% more contagious than the original Omicron subvariant. It also turned out to evade monoclonal antibody treatments used to cure COVID-19.