Cases of mass-mutating Pirola Covid strain identified in most UK regions

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    The new multi-mutated and highly immune system evasive Pirola strain of Coronavirus has been identified in “most regions of the UK,” officials have claimed.

    The variant is fast becoming the dominant strain in the UK, with positive cases doubling almost every few days in recent weeks. It has been confirmed that it has more than 30 different mutations, making it difficult for experts to analyse it properly – but it is worrying enough that the World Health Organization has placed it on its watch list. And as the country heads into autumn, it is thought that there will be a huge surge of cases from the BA.2.86 strain as was seen when the coronavirus pandemic was at its most dangerous in 2020 and 2021.

    And now the UK's Health and Security Agency has claimed that it has been spotted almost everywhere in the UK. A spokesman said: “BA.2.86 continues to transmit within the UK, with sporadic cases identified in most regions.”

    READ MORE: Rise in cases of new Covid Pirola strain only a 'matter of time', Brits warned

    And Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor of the UKHSA said: “While this is still very early data and more research is needed before we can be certain, it is encouraging to see an initial indication that BA.2.86 demonstrates similar levels of antibody escape compared to other variants circulating in the UK.

    "The available data is too limited to draw conclusions about the severity of the illness it causes, but there is so far no evidence to suggest that it is more likely to make people seriously ill than other Omicron variants in circulation.

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    “The autumn vaccination programme started this month, and this new data shows once again how important it is that the most vulnerable among us are fully vaccinated in order to receive the greatest possible protection. I urge everyone eligible to come forward for their next dose as soon as they are called.”

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    BA.2.86 was first identified in August and, as of 18 September, 137 cases have been sequenced in 15 countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US – with 54 confirmed cases in the UK, 48 of those in England and six in Scotland. Of those 48, 10 resulted in hospitalisations, two were found during during testing at a hospital emergency department, with six others having “unknown hospitalisation status”.

    No deaths have yet been confirmed.

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