“Breathtaking Updates on COVID-19 Variant BA 2.86 and Vaccine : What You Need to Know”

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Updates on COVID-19 Variant BA 2.86
(Image Source: Times Of India) Updates on COVID-19 Variant BA 2.86

Crucial Updates on COVID-19 Variant BA 2.86 and Vaccine Efficacy:

A highly mutated COVID variant named BA.2.86 has surfaced in Switzerland and South Africa, in addition to previously identified cases in Israel, Denmark, the US, and the UK, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Dutch virologist and WHO adviser Marion Koopmans stressed that we are now in a very different phase of the pandemic compared to its early days.

This offshoot of Omicron carries more than 35 mutations in crucial parts of the virus, distinguishing it from XBB.1.5, the dominant variant in 2023. However, this mutation count is similar to the original Omicron variant that caused a surge in infections.

BA.2.86 was initially detected in Denmark in late July, leading to concerns about severe illness. Since then, it has been found in symptomatic patients, routine airport screenings, and wastewater samples in various countries. International scientists believe that while monitoring BA.2.86 is crucial, it is unlikely to trigger a devastating wave of severe disease and fatalities due to the global immunity built up through vaccinations and prior infections.

WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, emphasized that the number of reported cases remains relatively low, suggesting wider circulation. Researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of updated COVID-19 vaccines against this variant. Vaccines have proven more successful in preventing severe illness and death than reinfection.

While BA.2.86 is raising concerns, current tests and treatments seem effective against it, although there is a possibility of increased infectivity in vaccinated individuals and those with prior COVID infections. However, there is no evidence yet suggesting it leads to more severe illness.

In the US, another subvariant, EG.5, is causing concern and increasing demand for tests. Surveillance and monitoring are becoming challenging due to a drop in global data submission to databases like GISAID.

Experts stress the importance of maintaining vigilance and resources for COVID surveillance, even as the pandemic enters a different phase. The coronavirus continues to circulate, evolve, infect, and cause fatalities, making it crucial for governments to remain proactive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on COVID-19 Variants and Vaccines

1. Will the new Covid-19 vaccine work against the BA 2.86 variant?

  • It is currently under investigation. Researchers are assessing the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 vaccines against the BA 2.86 variant. Initial findings suggest that vaccines continue to provide some level of protection, particularly against severe illness and death, but the extent of protection may vary. It’s important to stay updated on vaccine recommendations from health authorities.

2. What is the BA 2.75 variant of Covid-19?

  • The BA 2.75 variant appears to be a specific variant within the broader Omicron family. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, there’s no widely recognized BA 2.75 variant. It’s crucial to note that the situation with COVID-19 variants can change rapidly, and new variants may emerge. For the latest information on specific variants, refer to updates from health organizations and authorities.

3. Why is Covaxin considered better than Covishield?

  • The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines can vary based on factors such as the population studied, the timing of the study, and the prevalence of variants in a particular region. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, both Covaxin and Covishield were authorized for use in India, and their efficacy was assessed differently.
  • Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, is an inactivated virus vaccine. It uses a killed form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to stimulate an immune response. Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured in India by the Serum Institute, is a viral vector vaccine.
  • The effectiveness of these vaccines can also be influenced by the circulating variants of the virus. The choice between Covaxin and Covishield may depend on factors like local availability, eligibility criteria, and guidance from health authorities. To determine which vaccine is better for you, consult with healthcare professionals and follow recommendations from your local health department.

Read More: Updates on COVID-19 Variant BA 2.86

Read More: National News

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