Monitoring New COVID-19 Strain BA.2.86


In the United States, the CDC (Center of Disease Control) is monitoring a new strain of Covid-19 called BA.2.86.

On Thursday August 17, 2023, the CDC posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the lineage of this new variant has been detected in the United States, Denmark and Israel.

“As we learn more about BA.2.86, the CDC’s advice for protecting against Covid-19 remains unchanged,” they said on the social network.

A case of BA.2.86 was detected in a laboratory at the University of Michigan, according to CBS News [1]. It is unclear how the university obtained the sample that was sequenced. A case has also been detected in the UK.

The World Health Organization is also following the case of BA.2.86 and has classified it as a “variant under surveillance”.

“More data is needed to understand this variant of #COVID19 and the extent of its spread, but the number of mutations warrant attention. WHO will update countries and people as soon as they know more,” she said on X.

A variant whose severity is not yet known

The strain is still too rare for scientists to determine whether the BA.2.86 variant spreads more easily, whether this strain causes more severe symptoms than existing strains, or whether it will be more resistant to vaccines and natural immunity. which has developed in recent years.

Early research indicates that BA.2.86 “will evade antibodies elicited by pre-Omicron and first-generation Omicron variants as much or more than XBB.1.5,” said Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center virologist Dr. Jesse Bloom in a published slideshow. Thursday (XBB.1.5 is the Omicron sub-variant targeted by the new Covid booster injection that will soon be released on the market).

However, Dr Bloom pointed out that “even if a new variant with a large mutation like BA.2.86 starts to spread, we will be in a much better situation than in 2020 and 2021, because most people have a some immunity to SARS-CoV-2 today”.

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