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Business News/ News / World/  Canada: First case of highly mutated Omicron COVID variant BA.2.86 detected in British Columbia
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Canada: First case of highly mutated Omicron COVID variant BA.2.86 detected in British Columbia

Canada detects first case of BA.2.86 variant of Omicron in British Columbia

Canada confirms first case of BA.2.86 coronavirus variant in British ColumbiaPremium
Canada confirms first case of BA.2.86 coronavirus variant in British Columbia

Canada has identified its first case of coronavirus infection involving the highly mutated BA.2.86 variant of Omicron in an individual in British Columbia who had not travelled outside the province, stated health officials on Tuesday, August 29.

The infected person is not currently hospitalised, and the presence of the BA.2.86 virus does not alter the risk to the local population, as stated by Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's chief medical officer, and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement.

The appearance of the BA.2.86 variant in Canada and this particular province was not an unexpected development. In their statement, Henry and Dix emphasised that COVID-19 continues to spread globally, with the virus constantly evolving. "It was not unexpected for BA.2.86 to show up in Canada and the province, COVID-19 continues to spread globally, and the virus continues to adapt," they stated as reported by Reuters.

Also read: Highly mutated COVID variant BA.2.86 detected in 2 more countries, but 'pandemic in a different phase’, says WHO

The BA.2.86 lineage, which was initially detected in Denmark last month, boasts over 35 mutations in significant portions of the virus when compared to the XBB.1.5 variant, which had been the predominant strain throughout most of 2023. The United States, Switzerland, and Israel have also reported cases of this new variant.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentioned last week that the BA.2.86 variant might possess a greater capability to cause infections in individuals who had previous COVID-19 infections or had received preventive vaccines.

Also read: New COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 more infectious, capable of causing infection in vaccinated individuals: US CDC

While scientists consider it crucial to monitor the BA.2.86 variant, they do not anticipate it causing a devastating surge in severe illness and fatalities, thanks to the global immunity established through vaccination campaigns and prior infections.

Canadian health authorities have observed an increase in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks. Nevertheless, virus activity remains relatively low, as reported in a weekly update by Health Canada earlier on Tuesday.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 30 Aug 2023, 10:16 AM IST
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