FACT FINDER: Stealth omicron may not be so stealthy after all

KOLD News 5:30-6 p.m. Sundays recurring
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A new sub-variant of omicron is now in Arizona. It is known as BA.2 but dubbed Stealth Omicron. People call it that because it seems to be harder to detect than omicron. So, why is that?

After asking some experts, it appears Stealth omicron, might not be so stealthy after all. Efrem Lim, a virologist from Arizona State University, says the reason why people are calling it stealth omicron is because there is a mutation that makes it difficult for certain tests to detect. However, he says these are older tests.

”At ASU, we’ve updated our tests which is now better and it does not evade these modern tests. So, if most labs are able to switch over to the newer tests, it’s really not going to be a problem and it will not be stealth,” said Lim.

He says with those newer tests, they were able to detect 29 cases of BA.2 in Arizona. He adds, the first case they sequenced was at the beginning of the month.

To track the variants detected in Arizona, click here.

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