The new BA.2.86 variant (the latest Omicron strain) nicknamed “Pirola” has been thought to be spreading in the UK, after the government said there was an outbreak reported at a care home. The new variant has sparked concern as it has 34 more variations, which could make it easier to avoid vaccines.
Pirola has been detected in 15 countries worldwide so far, and the arrival of this new variant could be a cause for concern; the UK has already seen 97,904 new symptomatic cases of Covid as of 16th September, according to The Zoe Health Study.
Here are the countries that have reported Pirola so far:
What are the symptoms?
According to Patient.Info, the main symptoms of the new Pirola variant are:
Aches and pains
A continuous cough
Change in taste/smell
A runny nose
A sore throat
That said, three more symptoms have been recently reported according to the New Scientist – namely, diarrhoea, eye irritation, and rashes.
“Thanks to the success of our vaccine programme, we have built strong, broad immune defences against new variants throughout the population. However, some people remain more vulnerable to severe illness from Covid-19.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated incorrectly that Professor Dame Jenny Harries is the chief executive of Health Data Research UK. Prof Harries is chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency.