New coronavirus strain detected in UK

New coronavirus strain detected in UK

BA.2.86 variant under WHO monitoring, 1st detected in Israel, Denmark, later in US

By Burak Bir

LONDON (AA) - The new coronavirus variant, BA.2.86 was detected Friday in the UK after being identified in Israel, Denmark and the US, according to the country's health agency.

"There is currently one confirmed case in the UK in an individual with no recent travel history, which suggests a degree of community transmission within the UK," the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement.

The variant was first detected in Israel, then Denmark and later in the US which caused concern for scientists about potential spread.

"The newly identified variant has a high number of mutations and is genomically distant from both its likely ancestor, BA.2, and from currently circulating XBB-derived variants," said the statement.

The agency designated the variant as V-23AUG-01 for the purpose of monitoring, it said.

"UKHSA will continue to monitor the situation closely and will publish the results of our analysis when they are available," added Meera Chand, deputy director of the UKHSA.

Earlier this week, scientists urged those in the UK to again wear face masks amid concerns about the emergence of a new mutation and increasing cases.

The World Health Organization said Thursday it has designated BA.2.86 as a "variant under monitoring," due to the large number of mutations it carries.

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