Covid variant BA.2.86 triples in new CDC estimate, now 8.8% of cases

About 1 in 10 new cases of Covid-19 in the US fall under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention category BA.2.86. assessed On Monday, the prevalence of the highly mutated variant was nearly three times higher than the agency estimated two weeks ago.

Among the few areas with sufficient samples from testing laboratories, the prevalence of BA.2.86 is highest in the Northeast: 13.1% of cases in the New York and New Jersey region are attributed to the strain.

Monday’s figures mark the first time the prevalence of BA.2.86 has risen enough to be listed as an absolute variation in the CDC’s estimate. Scientists first warned of highly mutated strains Discovery in summer.

“In previous Nowcast updates, BA.2.86 was more uncommonly shown in isolation and clustered with other BA.2 strains,” the CDC said. said Monday.

Earlier, officials said most of the new COVID-19 cases were blamed on the XBB variant. A collection of closely related descendants of XBB. Among them HV.1 and EG.5 Categories They are now a staple across the country.

CDC’s estimates have a wide margin of error around the prevalence of BA.2.86. The agency says that 4.8% or 15.2% of circulating SARS-CoV-2 may be from BA.2.86.

However, this latest estimate – 8.8% since November 25 – is almost triple that of November 11, when 3.0% of new cases were estimated at BA.2.86. The CDC typically releases its variability estimates every Friday, but delayed last week’s release until the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“It should be noted that initial predictions are less reliable because they rely on examining developmental trends in a small number of sequences, especially since the amount of laboratory-based testing for SARS-CoV-2 has decreased significantly over time.” The company said.

The World Health Organization also recently intensified the classification of BA.2.86 and its derivatives as a “variant of interest”.

Preliminary data on BA.2.86 suggest that it does not cause worse or different symptoms than previous strains, the World Health Organization said in its Nov. 21 statement. Risk assessmentBut the latest BA.2.86 reports mention “significant rise”.

The CDC disagreed with the WHO’s assessment that BA.2.86 may pose a “low” public health risk, saying that currently “the BA.2.86 strain does not appear to increase infections or hospitalizations in the United States.”

It comes as the CDC began tracking a renewed spike in indicators tracking the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S. over the winter.

After weeks of slow or flat trends, the CDC said Statistics like this month Emergency Department Visit Nationwide outbreaks from COVID-19 have begun to escalate. Almost all parts of the country are now seeing at least a small increase.

Some of the highest increases are in the Midwest region That includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, where temperatures are nearing levels not seen since early January.

JN.1 Is variation a crime?

Since August, BA.2.86’s wide range of mutations has not been enough to gain a foothold on XBB and its derivatives. Months of highly mutated variation spread only slightly Share of cases All over the world.

But in recent weeks scientists have been studying the steep rise of the BA.2.86 lineage, known as JN.1, which has become the fastest-growing subtype. All over the world.

Several cases have been reported In EuropeIt has seen an increasing number of cases from BA.2.86 and its descendants.

Authorities in France said On November 13, JN.1 was responsible for the increase in the number of BA.2.86 infections in the country, which rose in the order of 10% in the country. “Early investigations of JN.1 compared to other BA.2.86 infections have so far not revealed worrisome signals, although more in-depth analyzes are underway,” they said.

Data from recent weeks Calculated from The GISAID virus database suggests that JN.1 accounted for about one-third of the Covid-19 strains reported from laboratories in the United States.

It is not clear what proportion JN.1 makes up the CDC’s estimate of BA.2.86.

A spokesman for the agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, CDC said The Covid-19 tests and treatment are expected to be effective against JN.1, which is closely related to BA.2.86 except for a change to its spike protein. A preliminary study suggests that It helps spread faster.

This season’s vaccines are expected to perform similarly to those evaluated against JN.1 and its BA.2.86 parent, the agency said.

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