Just when we thought the pandemic was finally nearing an end, here comes a subvariant of Omicron to rain on our parade.
So, what is this newest player on the block, you ask? Well, allow me to formally introduce subvariant Omicron BA.2.
The Omicron BA.2 variant is the latest in a series of variants that have, over the course of the pandemic, attained global dominance.
According to the World Health Organization, the BA.2 variant now represents nearly 86 per cent of all sequenced cases of the virus worldwide.
The BA.2 variant is believed to be even more transmissible than its highly contagious Omicron siblings, BA.1 and BA.1.1, however, the evidence so far suggests that it is no more likely to cause severe disease.
As with the other variants in the Omicron family, vaccines are less effective against BA.2 variant than against previous variants like Alpha or the original strain of coronavirus, and protection declines over time.
However, according to UK Health Security Agency data, protection is restored by a booster jab, particularly preventing hospitalisation and death.