The WHO and the US are monitoring a New Variant of the CoronavirusHealth | August 18, 2023, Friday // 15:02| views
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States are monitoring a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, reported AFP. The potential significance of the numerous mutations is currently unknown.
The WHO has decided to classify the new variant BA.2.86 in the "under monitoring" category. The reason for this is the large number of spike gene mutations, says the WHO epidemiological bulletin, which was released on Thursday versus Friday.
The spike protein gives the virus its spiky appearance and allows SARS-CoV-2 to enter cells.
So far, this new variant was found in Israel, Denmark and USA. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on social media that they are monitoring the variant.
According to the WHO, four sequences of this variant have been announced with no epidemiological link between them.
The potential effect of the BA.2.86 mutations is currently unknown, the WHO said. It emphasizes the importance of continuing monitoring and alerting the competent authorities in order to have a clear vision of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, three variants are of interest to the WHO - XBB.1.5, XBB.1.16 and EG.5. Seven variants are under observation - BA.2.75, BA.2.86, CH.1.1, XBB, XBB.1.9.1, XBB.1.9.2 and XBB.2.3.
Although the WHO has not considered the pandemic an emergency since early May, "the virus continues to spread in all countries, continues to kill and continues to change," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
According to the WHO epidemiological bulletin, from July 17 to August 13 this year, more than 1.4 million new cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,300 deaths were registered. The data shows a 63 percent increase in the number of infected and a 56 percent decrease in the number of deaths compared to the previous 28-day period.
The actual number of infections and deaths is likely much higher.
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