New Covid19 variant ‘Pirola’ sparks fear in many countries

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's principal secretary PK Mishra held a high-level meeting to review emerging global and national scenario owing to detection of newer variants of Covid19

Covid19 Pirola

New Delhi: Covid19 has surfaced again in countries like United States, United Kingdom and China among though in a different avatar—Pirola or BA.2.86. Amid the sudden surge, concern have grown about a new strain of Covid19. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) this variant poses much higher risk as it has reportedly been causing higher infection across many regions.

Officials of the ministry of health and family welfare said that Pirola variant seems to be much milder than the original Covid19 strain, which soon turned into the ‘deadly Delta variant’ taking millions of lives during the first and second wave of the pandemic.

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Reports quoting virologist Pavithra Venkatagopalan said that Pirola variant appears to have undergone as many changes as the Omicron variant did from the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The resurgence of new Covid19 variant in many countries have prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal secretary PK Mishra convene a high-level meeting to review the emerging global and national situation owing to outbreak of newer variants and assess their impact on public health impact on Monday.

This was in view of recent reports of the detection of certain newer variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus reported globally.

How dangerous is Pirola variant?

The health experts say that very few samples of the Pirola variant is available, therefore it is difficult to gauge the severity of the new strain. Only nine samples of the BA.2.86 variant have been received, although this does not necessarily reflect the total number of cases.

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The CDCP has also noted that the Pirola variant could potentially affect people who have survived and earlier variant of coronavirus or have received Covid-19 vaccines. This indicates a higher potential for breakthrough infections compared to previous strains of the virus.

Pirola or BA.2.86 variant is interesting because it has a lot of 35 new mutations that sets it apart from previously known prevalent Covid variants.

Prevalence of Pirola

According to CNBC report, Pirola variant coronavirus cases have been detected in Denmark, South Africa, the US, UK, and Israel. The BA.2.86 variant was first identified on 24 July 2023, and has been designated a variant of interest by the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to its 35 mutations, which significantly exceed those observed in previous variants.

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Causes of Pirola variant spread

Head of critical care, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, Kuldeep Kumar Grover, said that both BA.2.86 and Eris transmits through droplets.

Symptoms of Pirola & Eris variants

According to a health expert the symptoms of the Pirola variant infected patients include, rashes, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, apart from fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle ache, headache, loss of taste and smell and sore throat.

Is Pirola variant of Covid-19 dangerous?

According to various media reports, substantial mutations in the spike protein of BA.2.86 raise concerns about potential immune evasion, indicating that the existing vaccines and prior Covid-19 infection may offer less protection against this variant compared to earlier strains of the virus.

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