CBS News reports:
The CDC announced Thursday it is tracking a recently discovered COVID-19 strain, BA.2.86, after a case of the highly-mutated variant was discovered in Michigan. “Today we are more prepared than ever to detect and respond to changes in the COVID-19 virus. Scientists are working now to understand more about the newly identified lineage in these cases and we will share more information as it becomes available,” CDC spokesperson Kathleen Conley said.
Experts say reports of BA.2.86 being spotted in countries on multiple continents — Denmark, Israel, U.K. and U.S. — suggest it is at least capable of transmitting widely and could have been spreading undetected for some time. It comes after the World Health Organization announced it had classified BA.2.86 as a “variant under monitoring” due to its large number of mutations.
The New York Post reports:
The new lineage, which has 36 mutations from the currently-dominant XBB.1.5 COVID variant “harkens back to an earlier branch” of the virus, explained Dr. S. Wesley Long, medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist.
Early analysis indicates that the new variant “will have equal or greater escape than XBB.1.5 from antibodies elicited by pre-Omicron and first-generation Omicron variants,” Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center said in a slide deck published on Thursday.
The Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 is the strain targeted by vaccines in upcoming COVID booster shots.
The CDC announced it is tracking a recently discovered COVID-19 strain, BA.2.86, after experts discovered a case of the highly-mutated strain in Michigan. https://t.co/CTknO4pBmM
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) August 18, 2023
A case of the COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 has been identified in the UK & a number of other countries. Dr Meera Chand, Deputy Director, has said “We’re aware that BA.2.86 has been detected in the UK. UKHSA is assessing the situation & will provide further information in due course.”
— UK Health Security Agency (@UKHSA) August 18, 2023