Covid-19, after ‘Eris’ a new variant pops up
TORONTO – The Public Health Agency of Canada is monitoring a new highly mutated variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, that has been detected in at least four countries, but no cases have been detected in Canada so far. It is “BA.2.86”, a “variant under monitoring” due to the “large number of mutations identified”: cases have been recorded in the United States, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Israel, although as of Friday fewer than ten confirmed cases have been reported worldwide. And none, we said, in Canada.
“Scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada, along with national and international experts, are actively monitoring and evaluating the BA.2.86 lineages and their associated studies,” Health Canada’s member Anna Maddison told Global News. As of Friday, “there have been no detections of the BA.2.86 lineage in Canada,” she added.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has classified the new variant “in the category under surveillance due to the very high number (more than 30) of mutations of the Spike gene”, which gives the virus the pointed appearance that allows it to enter the host cells. Only four known sequences of this variant have been reported so far, with no known associated epidemiological link, WHO explains. “The potential impact of the BA.2.86 mutations is currently unknown and is being carefully evaluated,” said the organization, which is looking at three variants of interest and seven classified variants under surveillance. The countries that reported cases all noted that BA.2.86 mutated enough to appear “distant” from its likely parents, including the currently dominant XBB.1.5 variant of Omicron, which itself was far more transmissible and deadly than the original strain. of SARS-CoV-2.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that the “distinct” variant has been detected in the country – the first case was detected by a laboratory in Michigan. “Based on the available evidence, we do not yet know what risks, if any, this could pose to public health beyond what has been seen with other lineages currently in circulation,” a spokesperson said in a statement. In the UK, the Health Security Agency said on Friday it had detected one case, while Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut said three cases of BA.2.86 had so far been detected in the country, which appear to have had no contact between They. The Israeli Ministry of Health has not published any information on the new variant so far, but the identification of at least one case has been confirmed by multiple sources.
Canada, which currently has no cases, is also continuing to monitor the spread of another major new variant of Covid-19, “EG.5” or “Eris,” Health Canada confirmed in early August. A “hot” autumn is predicted…