New COVID Variant Is Spreading In The US

New COVID Variant Is Spreading In The US
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It seems that there’s a new COVID variant on the loose in the US. Check out more details about it and also take a look at the risks that it brings for health.

New COVID variant in the US

The BA.2.86 variant, also known as Pirola, is becoming widespread in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), its prevalence increased from 1 to approximately 9 percent between Oct. 28 and Nov. 25.

On Nov. 21, the World Health Organization identified Pirola as a variant of interest, but also determined that the public health risk posed by BA.2.86 was low at the global level. In a Nov. 27 update, the CDC concurred with the WHO’s evaluation, stating that “based on available limited evidence,” the public health risk posed by this variant is low compared to other circulating variants.

Pirola is a variant of the earlier Omicron strain, BA.2. Another variant, XBB.1.5, which also derived from BA.2, became the dominant strain in early 2023. However, the current dominant variant is H.V.1, which is derived from EG.5, an unofficially named variant known as Eris. Eris was previously dominant in the United States.

“At this time, BA.2.86 does not appear to be driving increases in infections or hospitalizations in the United States,” the CDC wrote.

Studies conducted outside of the United States have indicated that the Pirola variant is not expected to be more severe than the current variants. According to researcher Yunlong Cao, who has a doctorate in physical biochemistry from Harvard, Pirola has lower cell infectivity compared to XBB.1.5 and Eris.

A preprint study from Japan suggests that while Pirola may be more transmissible than Eris, which was a previous dominant variant, it is less likely to cause disease.


Compared to Eris, Pirola has a significantly lower growth efficiency, meaning that it is less capable of replicating itself in the host, the authors wrote.

“This is not the second coming of omicron.

If it were, it is safe to say we would know by now,” Bill Hanage, associate director and professor of epidemiology at Harvard wrote on X on Sep. 1 ,when the variant’s prevalence was significantly lower.


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Rada Mateescu

Passionate about freedom, truth, humanity, and subjects from the science and health-related areas, Rada has been blogging for about ten years, and at Health Thoroughfare, she's covering the latest news on these niches.

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