‘Real deal’ Covid variant now in Britain as patient is hospitalized in London

Health officials have confirmed the presence of a heavily-mutated Covid variant dubbed the ‘real deal’ in the UK, raising concerns of a potential fresh wave of infections.

The variant, known scientifically as BA.X/BA.2.86 but nicknamed Pirola, was detected in a patient hospitalized in London, according to virus-tracking researchers. This marks the first case of the variant identified within the UK, suggesting local transmission.

'Real deal’ Covid variant detected in Britain as patient hospitalized in London

The unidentified patient is believed to have contracted the BA.X/BA.2.86 variant within the UK.

While the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has not disclosed the exact number of cases detected so far, experts have indicated that this discovery likely indicates wider circulation of the variant.

Previously, only six cases of this variant had been detected worldwide, with instances in the United States, Denmark, and Israel.

The Danish cases, in particular, appeared to be geographically spread out and unrelated to each other, indicating community transmission of the variant.

Dr. Meera Chand, the Deputy Director of UKHSA, acknowledged the detection of the BA.X/BA.2.86 variant in the UK.

“We are aware that BA.2.86 has been detected in the UK.

“UKHSA is assessing the situation and will provide further information in due course,” Dr. Meera Chand said.

Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell, a specialist in infectious diseases and microbiology, revealed that a patient at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London had been diagnosed with the BA.X/BA.2.86 variant.

Notably, the infection appeared to have been acquired locally, with no immediately apparent connection to cases observed elsewhere around the world.

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