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ICYMI: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated on Aug. 23 that the new BA.2.86 COVID-19 lineage may cause infection in people who received vaccines or previously had the virus.
By: Jack Phillips, The Epoch Times, Aug 23 2023
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated on Aug. 23 that the new BA.2.86 COVID-19 lineage may cause infection in people who received vaccines or previously had the virus.
The CDC stated that it’s too soon to know whether this might cause more severe illness than previous variants. But because of the high number of mutations detected in this lineage, there are concerns about the effectiveness of immunity from vaccines and previous infections, according to the agency.
“The large number of mutations in this variant raises concerns of greater escape from existing immunity from vaccines and previous infections compared with other recent variants,” the CDC stated in its assessment. “For example, one analysis of mutations suggests the difference may be as large as or greater than that between BA.2 and XBB.1.5, which circulated nearly a year apart.”
But it also stated that “virus samples are not yet broadly available for more reliable laboratory testing of antibodies, and it is too soon to know the real-world impacts on immunity.”
The agency noted that it detected at least two cases with the BA.2.86 variant in the United States, although few other details were provided. It was also found in Israel, the UK, South Africa, and Denmark.
One of the BA.2.86 cases was found in a person detected via the CDC’s traveler surveillance system, while it noted that cases being found in several countries is evidence of international transmission.
“Notably, the amount of genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 globally has declined substantially from previous years, meaning more variants may emerge and spread undetected for longer periods of time,” the assessment reads. “It is also important to note that the current increase in hospitalizations in the United States is not likely driven by the BA.2.86 variant. This assessment may change as additional data become available.”
The CDC noted that most of the U.S. population has COVID-19 antibodies from a previous infection, vaccination, or both and stated that it’s likely that the antibodies will provide some protection against the variant.
The agency stated on Aug. 23 that the slight recent increase in hospitalizations in the United States isn’t likely driven by the BA.2.86 lineage.
Based on an analysis of the mutations to the new virus, the CDC stated that COVID-19 tests and antiviral drugs are likely still going to work against it.
“At this time, we don’t know how well this variant spreads, but we know that it spreads in the same way as other variants,” the agency stated.
A top official with the World Health Organization has designated the BA.2.86 as a “variant under monitoring,” noting that there’s “limited” information about the variant.
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