Emerging COVID Variant BA.2.86 Detected in Multiple U.S. States

emerging-covid-variant-ba.2.86-detected-in-multiple-us-states

More cases of the COVID variant BA.2.86 are being reported by more health officials across the U.S.

A member of the Houston Methodist Hospital’s genome sequencing team announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday that the team had found the first case in Texas. Director of the Ohio Department of Health Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff acknowledged the discovery of one case on the same day.

According to public health professionals and the open global genome sequencing database GISAID, these states join Michigan, New York, and Virginia.

There have been hundreds of mutations of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, which started the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, but the majority eventually die off.

Because to the significant number of mutations in BA.2.86, public health professionals from all around the world are monitoring it.

The strain BA.2.86 was discovered for the first time on July 24 in Denmark, followed by Israel and Michigan in August of this year. According to GISAID, it has since been reported in South Africa, Canada, England, France, and Portugal.

Schaffner stated that he and other specialists think it may be a factor in the rise in COVID hospitalizations in the U.S. since it contains more than 30 alterations to the spike protein, which the virus uses to connect to and infect cells.

Read Also: Virginia Declares Statewide Meningococcal Outbreak: 27 Cases, 5 Deaths Reported

Hospitalizations Surge Nearly 19%

emerging-covid-variant-ba.2.86-detected-in-multiple-us-states
More cases of the COVID variant BA.2.86 are being reported by more health officials across the U.S.

Hospitalizations increased 18.8% for the week ending August 19 according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was updated on Monday.

According to the CDC’s most recent data, EG.5, another XBB offshoot, is currently responsible for the majority of COVID cases in the United States.
This information is being released as the CDC advisory council prepares to meet on September 12 to consider novel boosters that target COVID subvariants. Mid- to late-September is when the boosters are anticipated to be made available.

Although it is unknown how well the new boosters will protect against BA.2.86, Schaffner noted that because the current vaccine is meant to target XBB, it may offer adequate defense against serious illness and hospitalization.

Officials will keep an eye on how quickly and how contagious the variety spreads over the coming weeks.

Data on wastewater could be a useful tool. The way that authorities in New York City found BA.2.86 was through wastewater sampling. Authorities said that the sample did not originate from a local person, although the variation is unquestionably circulating given that it was found in wastewater.

Prior until now, public health professionals have stated that wastewater tracking is an effective early detection method for observing probable future upticks.

Read Also: EG.5 Variant Drives Covid-19 Surge in Cases and Hospitalizations

Source: ABC News

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