The Israeli health ministry has said that they have found two people; who were apparently carrying a coronavirus (COVID-19) strain that combined the original Omicron and the so-called “stealth” BA.2 variant.
A report published by The Times Of Israel on Wednesday (March 16); quoted the ministry as saying that “this strain has not yet been seen in the world”.
The ministry further noted that; the cases were found “in recent days” while testing international arriving travellers at Ben Gurion Airport.
The ministry further states that the two cases of Coronavirus have not required special medical care as they are suffering mild symptoms.
Early research suggests “stealth omicron,” or the B.A.2 lineage of the omicron variant spreads faster than the original omicron; which itself spread faster than the original virus and other variants.
Meanwhile, Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday (March 15); they had formally asked the United States drug regulator for emergency approval of a second booster shot of their Covid vaccine for people aged 65 and older.
The companies said in a press statement that their request is based on two Israeli studies; that show “an additional mRNA booster increases immunogenicity and lowers rates of confirmed infections and severe illness.”
Leaving a few countries like China, most countries’ case levels have significantly declined from record levels during the Omicron wave.
The first Israeli study cited by Pfizer and BioNTech showed that “rates of confirmed infections were 2 times lower and rates of severe illness were 4 times lower among individuals; who received an additional booster dose,” compared to those who only had one.
The second study – an analysis of Israeli healthcare workers 18 years and older;- showed that antibody levels in those who received a second booster were significantly higher than those who did not.