DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — With omicron sweeping across the nation, scientists around the country are now monitoring a new sub-variant of omicron.

Medical experts say BA.2, nicknamed stealth omicron, has some genetic mutations not seen in the original omicron variant. According to the World Health Organization, preliminary data may point to BA. 2 being more transmissible, but not more severe than the original omicron variant.

The state health officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, Dr. Scott Harris, said it’s still too early to tell what that data means.

“We fully expect that,” Harris said. “What we don’t know is how easy those are going to be to spread. Are they likely to replace omicron and this is important, how serious is the disease that they cause?”

Dr. Harris tells WDHN, even though there is a lot of unknown data surrounding the omicron variant, one thing medical experts remain certain about is vaccinations still remain the best protection against hospitalizations and severe illness.