China News Service, February 21. According to Singapore's "Lianhe Zaobao", the latest research results from the University of Tokyo in Japan show that the new coronavirus Omicron BA.2 subtype variant not only spreads faster, but may also cause severe disease and even Some antibodies that may circumvent vaccine production are also resistant to some therapeutic drugs.

Japanese people wearing masks walk through the lobby of a train station in Tokyo.

  The researchers infected hamsters with the BA.2 and BA.1 virus strains, respectively, and found that the hamsters infected with BA.2 were more severely ill and had more severe lung damage.

However, antibodies in the blood of patients who have been infected with Omicron appear to have some protection against BA.2, especially if they have been vaccinated against the new crown.

  "From a human perspective, BA.2 may be a worse virus than the original strain, BA.1," said Dr. Rhodes, chief of the microbiology division at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA. "It may spread more easily, leading to more severe disease."

  Compared with the original new coronavirus, BA.2 is highly mutated.

According to Kei Sato, a researcher at the University of Tokyo who carried out the study, these findings prove that BA.2 should not be considered an Omicron and that it needs closer monitoring.

  Sato told CNN that the immediate priority is to create a method to specifically detect BA.2.

  Realistic data shows that BA.2 is about 30% more infectious than Omicron.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus has been found in 74 countries and territories, as well as 47 states in the United States.

BA.2 has dominated in at least 10 countries.

  But Fuller, a virologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, believes that although BA.2 appears to be more contagious and pathogenic than Omicron, it may not ultimately spark a more devastating wave of new coronavirus infections.

"Our immune system is also evolving ... we're in a race against the virus, it's all about who gets ahead."

  For this reason, Fuller doesn't think it's time to lift the mask rule.