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The invisible version shares many mutations with the standard omicron. However, it lacks a specific genetic variation that allows the use of PCR-type tests for this determination virus as a possible variant of the omicron and subjected to complete genetic sequencing for confirmation.

This version is still detected as a coronavirus by all standard tests and can be identified as an omicron by genetic sequencing, but the detection of potential cases through PCR tests has greatly speeded identification of the omicron variant.

Explains “The guardian“.

The researchers point out that it is too early to predict whether the new version of the omicron will propagate in the same way as the standard version, but they say it is genetically distinct and may behave differently.

This version was after Once It was first noticed among coronavirus samples shipped in recent days from South Africa, Australia and Canada, but it may already be spreading further. Of the seven cases identified so far, none have come from the UK.

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“Omicron is invisible”

The discovery of a new form of omicron prompted researchers to split the line B.1.1.529 into a standard omicron, called BA.1, and a newer variant – BA.2. There are two lines within the omicron, BA.1 and BA.2, which are completely genetically different. These two lines might behave differently – the professor thinks. François Ballou, Director of the Institute of Genetics at University College London.

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As the Guardian explains, scientists use genome-wide analysis to confirm which variant of the coronavirus caused the infection, but the PCR test can sometimes give clues. About half of the PCR machines in the UK look for the three genes of the virus, but the omicron, like the alpha variant, produces calendar Only two of them tested positive. This is because the omicron has a genetic change called a deletion in the spike gene. Detection of this deletion by PCR indicates that it is an omicron variant. The new version, however, does not contain this change, so scientists informally called it the “invisible omicron”.

One of the main unknowns is how the new version was created. Although it is still classified as an omicron, it is so genetically distinct that if it spreads rapidly it could be considered a variant of concern. According to the researchers, the appearance of two separate transcripts, BA.1 and BA.2, with a rapid pace of joint mutations would be alarming, the journal writes.

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