What is known about the new strain of covid-19 ‘Prola’?

Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) ending the international emergency Covid-19 On May 5, the virus “continues to spread and mutate in all countries”. One of the more recent variants is PA.2.86, popularly known as ‘Brola’.

On August 17, 2023, the WHO classified BA.2.86 as a variant “under observation” because of the “high number of mutations it carries.” His announcement comes just weeks after he declared the EG.5 variant known as the ‘Eris’, already available in Colombia and other countries, as “preferred”. Both are subsidiary lines of Omicron.

BA.2.86 was first reported in Denmark in late July and has spread to Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom, the top health agency noted. Although it does not have an official name, it is nicknamed ‘Birola’ in Spain and other countries.

In fact, Ryan Gregory, a Canadian biologist and academic at the University of Guelph, announced that his team of scientists had dedicated themselves to tracking variations and decided to name it.

“It’s an astronomical name based on the asteroid (which is named after the American plant genus Pyrola),” he commented on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

He also clarified that since it is so recent there are only six sequences: “There is no way to know anything about the specific symptoms of this variant. We have only six known examples in the world, 5 of which are not linked to an infected person, in which we can observe symptoms.”

Due to limited information, a preliminary risk assessment is being carried out, which will “allow better characterization of this variant in terms of transmissibility, immune escape and severity,” WHO said. So far, there is no evidence that they pose a greater health risk than other types.

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On the other hand, the EG.5 variant is called ‘Eris’. According to the WHO, there is a “continuing increase in the prevalence of this variant”, so there are warnings that it faces a possible increase in cases worldwide.

It was first reported in February 2023. It has spread to more than 50 countries, including Canada, Ecuador, Costa Rica, the United States, and the Dominican Republic. Even in Colombia, the National Institute of Health (INS) confirmed the first detection on June 4 and clarified that it is not more serious than other types.

“Their mutations are very similar to the variants we recorded and caused cases in Colombia, and it is not expected that there will be an increase in the virus in this regard,” the Colombian Health Commission commented.

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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