"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

New COVID strain could evade vaccines and alarms health authorities

August 24, 2023 – A brand new variant of COVID-19 identified within the United States just per week ago has prompted the CDC to take the weird step of issuing a proper notice that the disease will not be eradicated by vaccines or protected against by natural immunity.

The strain, called BA.2.86, is especially concerning since it has over 30 mutations, meaning it might behave very in another way than previous versions of the virus. That variety of mutations corresponds to the difference between variants severe enough to be officially named, equivalent to Delta and Omicron, the CDC said within the Risk assessment Published Wednesday.

Health authorities worldwide are releasing a flood of updates on BA.2.86. The strain has only recently appeared on the World Health OrganizationRadar when it was designated a “variant under observation” on August 17. The CDC announced the identical day that it had been detected within the U.S.

The characteristics the CDC monitors include how contagious a strain is, how well it responds to treatment, and the way severely it affects people.

“BA.2.86 may be more likely to cause infection in people who have previously had COVID-19 or have been vaccinated against COVID-19,” the CDC’s risk assessment says.

The agency is testing how well the updated vaccine against BA.2.86, which will probably be released in September, works.

A brand new forecast, also released by the CDC this week, predicts that hospitalizations resulting from the virus will proceed to rise until a minimum of mid-September. At the momentAbout 1,800 persons are hospitalized with COVID-19 each day. new forecast shows that number could potentially drop to 1,100 per day, nevertheless it could also rise by as much as 7,500 per day. The more than likely scenario is somewhere in the midst of that range, with every day hospitalizations between 2,000 and 4,000 people by September 18.

The CDC said there's “no evidence” that BA.2.86 causes more severe disease, but said that would change as more information becomes available. Health experts typically measure severity by the speed of COVID hospitalizations.

The diary Nature reported that many scientists see similarities between the emergence of BA.2.86 and that of Omicron, which spread rapidly all over the world in late 2021.

“It’s a bit like déjà vu again,” said virologist Adam Lauring, MD, PhD of the University of Michigan, whose lab discovered certainly one of the primary cases of BA.2.86 within the U.S. Nature.

Lauring, in addition to the CDC and WHO, indicate that more data is required to actually understand the threat posed by BA.2.86.

“There are good reasons to believe it won't be like the omicron wave, but it's too early,” Lauring said.