Although the pandemic is no longer a threat, Covid-19 does not seem to have slowed down. The ever-evolving microscopic villain is being reinstated in many countries as a new variant named BA.2.86. Cases of this variant have increased in the United Kingdom, China, Israel, Denmark and the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the Covid-19 variant as a “surveillance variant” due to the many mutations it carries. This means that the global health authority is closely monitoring the variant and will upgrade it to a “variant of concern” if there is enough evidence. So far, the impact of this variant remains unclear.
BA.2.86: New variant of Covid-19 detected
After Eris which spread to the UK, a new variant of Covid-19 BA.2.86 has taken over the world. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is a new subvariant of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 that causes coronavirus disease. It was first identified in 2022 in Denmark, after which it was found in several countries. According to global health authorities, this subvariant has several mutations.
Dr. Charu Dutt Arora, Infectious Diseases Specialist, Consultant Physician, AmeriHealth, Asian Hospital, Faridabad, says, “There is a massive change in the antigenic and spike structures of this variant which may increase the affinity towards ACE2 receptors and escape immunity. »
Is the new Covid variant more dangerous BA.2.86 than Eris?
Dr Tribhuvan Gulati, senior consultant for diabetes, obesity and internal medicine at CK Birla Hospital in Delhi, says it is too early to say whether the variant is more contagious or more dangerous than the Eris variant, because the cases that have occurred are still not. so much so that we can comment on it. In addition, the cases detected are not very serious and show no signs of contagion or danger.
What are the symptoms of the new variant of Covid BA.2.86?
Like other variants of Covid-19, the symptoms of this variant are similar to those of the flu. So be vigilant if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste and smell
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
New variant of COVID: is it a threat to India?
India has battled several variants in three years, another variant should be cause for concern, experts say. However, that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Experts say you should take proper precautions and get vaccinated if you haven’t already to protect yourself against possible variants of COVID that could affect you.
Dr Gulati says the new variant can pose a major threat to India in case of international travel without taking proper measures to curb the rise of Covid. Travel can also cause an increase in the number of cases.
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Although there is always a risk of contracting the infection, Dr Dutt points out that India has seen several waves in the last three years and we are carrying out a mass vaccination campaign. So we don’t need to consider this as a threat or a panic. What we need to do is continue to follow appropriate behavior in the face of COVID, keep vulnerable populations safe, and take immediate reminders if they haven’t already. This will help minimize hospitalizations and the severity of infections.
How to protect yourself from the new variant of Covid BA.2.86?
The CDC, the US and many European countries have recommended against unnecessary testing as they say the new variant does not pose a threat. Although doctors around the world recommend people avoid unnecessary testing, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safe. Here are some measures that can help protect you against the new variant of Covid B.2.86 suggested by experts:
- Avoid unnecessary international travel as this can expose you to the variant.
- Wear a mask when traveling, especially at the airport and during the flight.
- Take off the mask only when eating or drinking, otherwise always keep the mask on.
- See a doctor if you notice flu-like symptoms and get prompt treatment.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise daily to boost your immune system.