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Houston – A brand new COVID variant named “BA.2.86″ has now been detected and reported in Texas.

According to health officials, this is the fourth case reported in the United States and has been detected in people or sewage samples.

Researchers at Houston Methodist have identified this variation and worry it could cause a spike in cases.

WHO global disease experts are tracking the BA.2.86 variant, and it looks very different from the original version of the omicron variant.

According to experts, their main concern is that the new variant has 36 different spike protein mutations or 36 different variants. As stated therein Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on current information, the tests used to diagnose Covid-19 and the drugs used to treat them continue to be effective with this variation. Scientists are also evaluating the effectiveness of an updated Covid-19 vaccine, the CDC said.

As of Monday, only a small number of cases of the new variant had been identified globally. It has spread to 11 different countries, officials said.

Experts said preliminary reports suggest that this variant may be less contagious than other strains and that vaccinated Americans should have some protection against it.

“The current increase in cases and hospitalizations in the United States is driven by infections caused by XBB lineage viruses, not the new BA.2.86 variant,” the CDC’s website said.

When the new variant was first discovered, researchers said they feared it might turn out to be as powerful as the Omicron variant, but so far, officials say that doesn’t seem to be the case. At this point, there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease.

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As for the new Covid booster shot, the FDA is expecting it to be approved by them and signed off by the CDC in mid-September.

The researchers said it is too soon to say how much protection the new booster will provide in combating BA.2.86.

CDC encourages people to take the following precautions and actions:

  • Get your Covid-19 vaccinations as prescribed.

  • Stay home if you are sick.

  • Get tested for Covid-19 if needed.

  • Get treatment if you have COVID-19 and are at risk of becoming very ill.

  • If you choose to wear a mask, wear a high-quality one that fits your nose and mouth well.

  • Improve ventilation.

  • Antivirus.

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