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Business News/ News / World/  US First Lady Jill Biden tests Covid-19 positive ahead of Joe Biden's India visit for G20 Summit
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US First Lady Jill Biden tests Covid-19 positive ahead of Joe Biden's India visit for G20 Summit

First Lady Jill Biden tests positive for Covid-19, President Biden negative. Concerns rise over new Pirola variant.

First Lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19. Premium
First Lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19.

First Lady Jill Biden tested Covid-19 positive on Monday but is experiencing only mild symptoms currently. However, her husband President Joe Biden tested negative for the viral disease, according to a report published by The Associated Press. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president would continue testing regularly and be monitored for symptoms. Jill Biden will remain at the couple's home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for the time being. 

The United States has been experiencing a rise in Covid cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. Amid the sudden surge, concern has grown about a new strain of Covid-19 – Pirola or BA.2.86.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this variant poses a much higher risk as it has reportedly been causing higher infection across many regions.

Notably, the Pirola variant seems to be much milder than the original Covid-19 strain which soon turned into the 'deadly Delta variant' taking millions of lives during the first and second waves of the pandemic.

The CDC has also noted that the Pirola variant could potentially affect people who have survived an earlier variant of coronavirus or have received COVID-19 vaccines. This indicates a higher potential for breakthrough infections compared to previous strains of the virus.

In August this year, Biden also urged all Americans to get a COVID-19 booster shot this autumn to counter a new wave of infections reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Moderna said that initial data showed its updated COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the "Eris" and "Fornax" subvariants in humans. Moderna and other COVID-19 vaccine makers Novavax, Pfizer, and German partner BioNTech SE have created versions of their shots aimed at the XBB.1.5 subvariant.

The BA.2.86 variant was first identified on 24 July 2023, and has been designated a variant of interest by the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to its 35 mutations, which significantly exceed those observed in previous variants.


(With AP reports)

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Updated: 05 Sep 2023, 08:34 AM IST
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