The predominant symptom associated with the BA.2.86 variant of COVID-19 is fever. Other reported symptoms encompass coughing, fatigue, headaches, body aches, loss of appetite, and breathing difficulties.
The newly identified Covid variant, BA.2.86, has been found in Switzerland and South Africa, adding to its list of detected countries. This variant is currently contributing to a rise in cases in several nations, including the UAE, USA, UK, Israel, Denmark, and others. According to a Reuters report, this offshoot of the Omicron variant carries over 35 mutations in critical parts of the virus when compared to XBB.1.5, which was the dominant variant for most of 2023. This mutation count is roughly similar to the Omicron variant, known for causing a significant increase in infections compared to its predecessors.
Although a group of twelve international scientists emphasized the importance of monitoring BA.2.86, they expressed doubt that it would lead to a catastrophic wave of severe illness and fatalities. This skepticism arises from the global immunity developed through vaccination and past infections, which are expected to offer significant defenses against the variant.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated, “WHO has designated COVID19 variant BA.2.86 as a ‘variant under monitoring’ today due to the large number of mutations it carries. So far, only a few sequences of the variant have been reported from a handful of countries.”
Common Symptoms of BA.2.86 Variant COVID-19:
The predominant symptom associated with the BA.2.86 variant of COVID-19 is fever. Other reported symptoms encompass coughing, fatigue, headaches, body aches, loss of appetite, and breathing difficulties. The severity of these symptoms varies from mild to severe, contingent on the individual. They can resemble those of a common cold or flu-like illness, but in some cases, they can be more severe, necessitating hospitalization or medical intervention.
Origins of BA.2.86 Variant:
The origins of the BA.2.86 variant remain unclear, but experts hypothesize that it might stem from mutations in the virus that bolster its transmissibility from person to person. Other potential contributing factors could involve travel, close contact with infected individuals, or specific environmental conditions.
Preventive Measures for BA.2.86 Variant:
Effective preventive measures against this new variant primarily revolve around adhering to proper hygiene practices and adhering to social distancing guidelines. Key recommendations encompass frequent handwashing using soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, using a tissue or your elbow to cover coughs and sneezes, refraining from touching your face, and self-isolating when experiencing illness. Moreover, wearing face masks in public spaces and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others are strongly advised.