New Covid variant: Two strains of a virus get combined when there are two viruses in the same cell, and “when they multiply, they exchange genetic material, creating a new virus”, which is the explanation given for combined strains.
Israel on Wednesday has confirmed two cases of a new Covid variant and the world is unsure about how to react to this, as China is witnessing a massive surge of Covid-19 cases. Omicron, the most transmissible variant of SARS-CoV-2, was detected in South Africa last year.
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Here is what we know so far
BA.1+ BA.2: The new strain combines the two sub-variants of Omicron, known as BA.1 and BA.2. The two patients who have tested positive of the apparently new variant were passengers arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. There is no name for the new variant yet.
Symptoms: As reported, both these cases have mild symptoms of fever, headaches and muscle dystrophy. They did not require any special medical intervention. Both of them are teenagers.
Where did it originate? Israel’s health ministry has not yet concluded its research to give an answer. The variant may have originated in Israel, and the two passengers might have been infected before boarding the flight, health ministry director-general Nachman Ash said.
How concerning is the new variant? Israeli health experts are saying it is common to get combined strains. This occurs when there are two viruses in the same cell, and “when they multiply, they exchange genetic material, creating a new virus”, which is the explanation given for combined strains.
(With agency inputs)