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Everything we know about new COVID-19 variant found in multiple countries, World News

A new variant of COVID-19 was first discovered in Israel and has now spread to several other countries including Cambodia, India, Thailand, Hong Kong and the UK. Although the variant spreads fairly quickly, experts said there is no need to worry as it is not considered deadly.

Here’s everything we know about the new BA2.2 COVID-19 variant –

The new variant is the combination of two sub-variants of Omicron, namely BA.1 and BA.2, and although it is being studied around the world, scientists in Hong Kong currently refer to it as BA2.2.

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The Global Avian Flu Data Sharing Initiative is trying to get more data to better understand the strain. Two strains of COVID combining into a new variant is a common occurrence, Israeli COVID official Salman Zarka said, adding that when there are two viruses in the same cell and it multiplies, “they exchange genetic material, creating a new virus”.

What is the origin of the new variant?

The variant was first discovered in Israel when two returning passengers tested positive at Ben Gurion Airport. Since then, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has reported three cases in Maharashtra, Pondicherry and Ladakh. Similar cases have been found in Cambodia, Thailand and Hong Kong, while unconfirmed reports have the BA2.2 variant making its way to the UK.

“It is likely that they [the arriving passengers who tested positive] were infected before boarding the flight to Israel. The variant could have emerged here. We don’t yet know what that means,” Israeli Health Ministry Director General Nachman Ash said in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio.

However, researchers in Hong Kong believe the outbreak originated in their country and the Center for Medical Genomics at Mahidol University claimed the same in their Facebook post.

What are the symptoms of infection?

Symptoms reported so far are mild symptoms of fever, headache and muscular dystrophy.

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“The two cases of the combined strain, which have been discovered so far, suffered from mild symptoms of fever, headache and muscular dystrophy, and do not require a special medical response,” Israeli health authorities said. in an official statement.

How concerning is the new variant?

Israeli health authorities have downplayed the significance of the new variant and they believe current evidence shows it is not an extremely harmful variant.

“The phenomenon of combined variants is well known,” Israel’s pandemic response chief Salman Zarka told Army Radio. “At this stage, we are not concerned that this will lead to serious cases.”

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