PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A subvariant of omicron is responsible for one-fourth of the coronavirus cases tested at the University of Washington.

According to an announcement by the university, the strain known as BA.2 currently accounts for about one-fourth of new COVID-19 cases sequenced by the UW Medicine Clinical Virology Laboratory.

The subvariant is to blame for a new wave of new cases in parts of Europe and Asia, with cases gradually spreading in the United States.

“It’s been sort of slowly creeping up over the last six weeks,” Dr. Alex Greninger said. Greninger is the virology lab’s assistant director and an assistant professor of lab medicine and pathology at the UW School of Medicine in Seattle.

The lab first detected BA.2 in early January, the university noted.

Nationally, the variant of concern is responsible for nearly 35% of new infections, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what the end of April, beginning of May, what that time period will look like,” Greninger said.

He suggests for people to travel now and is hopeful that a potential wave of new cases caused by BA.2 won’t eclipse that of the original omicron variant. Emerging data show people who have been recently infected with omicron are likely protected against a symptomatic BA.2 infection.

More research finds booster shots continue to give their recipients a leg up in avoiding a major COVID-19 illness, including from BA.2.