While evidence still does not exist to suggest that omicron descendant BA.2 causes harsher symptoms of COVID-19 infection, a study conducted in Denmark has concluded that it is indeed more contagious.

The study evaluated COVID infections in over 8,500 homes in Denmark between December and January and found that people infected with BA.2 were around 33% more likely than those infected with the original omicron subvariant (BA.1) to transmit it to others.

“We conclude that Omicron BA.2 is inherently substantially more transmissible than BA.1,” the authors of the study said. “It also possesses immune-evasive properties that further reduce the protective effect of vaccination against infection.”

BA. 1, BA.2 and BA.3 are all known subvariants of Omicron (B.1.1.529), which was first detected in South Africa in late 2021.

Despite the study determining it was more contagious, World Health Organization COVID technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove stressed there’s no proof that BA.2 differs at all from BA.1 in regard to severity, and emphasized that vaccines are still the best way to prevent critical disease.

“We need people to be aware that this virus is continuing to circulate and it’s continuing to evolve,” Van Kerkhove said, as reported by CNBC. “That’s why it’s really important that we take measures to reduce our exposure to this virus, whatever variant is circulating.”

While there is increasing evidence to support that omicron and its subvariants are milder in comparison to previous COVID variants, Centers for Disease Control and Protection Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has clarified that “milder does not mean mild,” adding that “we cannot look past the strain on our health systems and substantial number of deaths.”