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First Highly Mutated Coronavirus Variant BA.2.86 Detected in Canada


LAHORE MIRROR – Canada has identified its inaugural case of coronavirus infection linked to the extensively mutated BA.2.86 variant of Omicron. The affected individual resides in British Columbia and has not undertaken any travel beyond the Pacific province, as confirmed by health authorities on Tuesday.

This person is not currently hospitalized, and the discovery of the BA.2.86 virus has not led to any alterations in the risk assessment for residents of British Columbia.

This consensus was conveyed through a joint statement issued by the province’s principal health official, Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“It was not unexpected for BA.2.86 to show up in Canada and the province,” they said. “COVID-19 continues to spread globally, and the virus continues to adapt.”

The BA.2.86 lineage, first detected in Denmark last month, carries more than 35 mutations in key portions of the virus compared with XBB.1.5, the dominant variant through most of 2023. The United States, Switzerland and Israel have also recorded cases of the new variant.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week the BA.2.86 variant may be more capable of causing infection in people who have previously had COVID-19 or who have received preventive vaccines.

Scientists have said that while it was important to monitor BA.2.86, it was unlikely to cause a devastating wave of severe disease and death given immune defenses built up worldwide from vaccination and prior infection.

Canadian health authorities have noted an uptick in COVID infections in recent weeks, though virus activity remains relatively low, Health Canada said in a weekly update earlier on Tuesday.