Texas and Ohio Report First Cases of New Variant Using Genome Sequencing


New instances of the COVID variant BA.2.86 are being reported by more health officials across the U.S.

The first instance in Texas was discovered, according to a member of the Houston Methodist Hospital’s genome sequencing team, who made the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, stated that one case had been found that day.

According to public health professionals and the open global genome sequencing database GISAID, these states join Michigan, New York, and Virginia. There have been hundreds of mutations of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, which started the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, but the majority eventually die off.

Due to the significant number of mutations in BA.2.86, public health professionals from all around the world are monitoring it.

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Omicron Subvariants

It’s certainly communicable, as are all of these sub variants of omicron, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, to ABC News. 

“As we all know, these COVID viruses are not localized just to one country or the other. They don’t need a passport. They can spread and can spread rapidly around the world,” the specialist stated. Both here in the United States and in other areas of the world, it is starting to spread.

The strain BA.2.86 was discovered for the first time on July 24 in Denmark, followed by Israel and Michigan in August of this year. According to GISAID, it has subsequently been reported in South Africa, Canada, England, France, and Portugal.

Schaffner stated that he and other specialists think it may be a factor in the rise of COVID hospitalizations in the U.S. since it contains more than 30 alterations to the spike protein, which the virus uses to connect to and infect cells.

Hospitalizations increased 18.8% for the week ending August 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was updated on Monday. According to the CDC’s most recent statistics, EG.5, another XBB offshoot, is presently responsible for the majority of COVID cases in the United States.

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Source: ABC News

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