BA.2.86, scientists nicknamed Pirola on social media, ‘closely tracked’ by WHO
Israel on Sunday confirmed its first case of a new form of Covid, BA.2.86, which scientists have dubbed “Pirola” on social media.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classified the new variant as one under observation “due to carrying a large number (more than 30) of spike gene mutations,” it wrote in a bulletin on the epidemic on Thursday.
The new variant contains 36 mutations from the currently dominant XBB.1.5 strain.
Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 is the strain targeted by the vaccine in the upcoming Covid booster shots.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that “while we have learned more about BA.2.86, the CDC’s advice on protecting yourself from COVID-19 remains the same.”
More variants of the virus have popped up since the global reopening of the pandemic in 2020, including the EG.5 variant, nicknamed “Eris”.