Newfound flavor of omicron variant may be harder to track

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Scientists have identified an additional version of the omicron coronavirus variant, one that carries many of the same mutations as the original but lacks one key genetic quirk, The Guardian reported. That quirk makes it easy for standard PCR tests to distinguish new cases of omicron from delta or other variants, so the newfound version of omicron might be harder to spot.

Researchers have now proposed splitting the omicron lineage, known as B.1.1.529, into two sublineages: BA.1, for the version of omicron that was initially identified, and B.2, for the newfound version. The split was suggested and implemented within the last few days on Cov-Lineages, an online system used to document SARS-CoV-2 lineages and their spread. 

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