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Pirola Variant: Concerns, Vaccines, & Global Cases



  Sep 14, 2023

irola variant of the coronavirus


What is known about the Pirola variant of the coronavirus?

The Pirola variant, officially designated as BA.2.86, is one of seven SARS-CoV-2 variants being monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was first reported in Denmark in late July and officially designated as a new variant under monitoring by WHO in mid-August. As the virus continues to evolve, WHO emphasizes the importance of countries strengthening surveillance, sequencing, and reporting of variants.

What is the point of concern with this variant?

While scientists have not raised alarm bells about BA.2.86, it is an offshoot of the Omicron variant, which led to a surge in cases. The concern lies in its potential for increased transmissibility as winter approaches in developed countries, where governments are ramping up adult vaccination efforts for COVID-19 and influenza.

Are existing COVID-19 vaccines effective against it?

The effectiveness of existing vaccines against BA.2.86 is still under investigation. Some international companies claim that updated mRNA vaccines are effective against this variant. However, there have been no official advisories from the Indian government or Indian vaccine manufacturers regarding the effectiveness of current vaccines against BA.2.86.

Are the number of cases in this variant going up globally?

There has been an increase in reported cases of the BA.2.86 variant in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States. However, data is limited, and clear trends are challenging to ascertain due to variations in reporting and data availability.

What actions are other governments taking to protect their citizens?

Some governments, like the UK, are advancing their vaccination schedules, aiming to vaccinate senior citizens against COVID-19 and seasonal flu ahead of winter. This precautionary measure is part of their annual practice in preparation for the flu season.


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