The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that the newly identified BA.2.86 lineage of the coronavirus might possess a greater ability to cause infection in individuals who have previously contracted COVID-19 or have been vaccinated. This variant’s potential for causing more severe illness compared to earlier variants remains uncertain at this stage.
The CDC has expressed concerns due to the substantial number of mutations found within the BA.2.86 lineage. These mutations raise questions about its impact on people who have been vaccinated or had a previous COVID infection. While researchers are currently unable to determine the potential severity of illness caused by this variant, they are closely monitoring its characteristics.
The BA.2.86 lineage is under scrutiny due to its distinctive profile of 36 mutations that distinguish it from the currently prevalent XBB.1.5 variant. However, the availability of virus samples for comprehensive laboratory testing of antibodies is still limited.
In recent times, the CDC had highlighted its monitoring efforts for the highly mutated BA.2.86 lineage, which has been identified in various countries including the United States, Denmark, and Israel.
Despite the emergence of this variant, the CDC has clarified that the ongoing rise in hospitalizations within the United States is not primarily attributed to the BA.2.86 lineage.