New COVID variant detected in Israel

Health official says there is simply not enough information available to determine how quickly the variant can spread or how severe a disease if could cause

Alexandra Lukash, Nir (Shoko) Cohen|
Israeli health officials said on Sunday that a new variant of COVID BA.2.86, which has been nicknamed by scientists on social media as Pirola, was detected after being identified and sequenced in the Tel Aviv Sourasky medical center lab.
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NEW COVID-19 VARIANT DETECTED IN ISRAEL, DENMARK AND US

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The variant, which is being tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) was also detected in the UK, Denmark and the U.S.
Reuters reported over the weekend that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed the first case of COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 in the country in an individual with no recent travel history. The news prompted calls by some health officials to resume the use of masks for protection.
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בדיקת קורונה
A COVID test
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The new variant has at least 36 mutations, in a pattern that is characteristic of viruses that have evolved under antibody pressure in chronic human infections, with Omicron being the most prominent example.
Israeli health officials said that new COVID vaccines that are due to be available to be administered to elderly, immunosuppressed and at-risk Israelis next month, may not provide a shield against the new variant if it spreads quickly but with the mRNA technology, the vaccines can be altered in a matter of weeks to respond to the new threat, although there is no information yet about the variant's ability to spread or the severity of the disease it could cause.
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 COVID vaccine
 COVID vaccine
COVID vaccine
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"The variant has many mutations and reminds us of the change to the COVID virus when it transitioned from the Delta variant to the Omicron strain and we are once again faced with a variant we know little about," Dr. Cyrille Cohen Head of the laboratory of Immunotherapy at Bar Ilan University said.
Israeli hospitals have been reporting a rise in hospitalizations over the past weeks.
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