Israel’s ministry of health announced Wednesday it had confirmed two cases of the new Covid variant, but officials announced they were not too worried about it. The strain, blending two sub-variants of the Omicron version of the COVID-19 virus — named BA.1 and BA.2 — was reported during PCR tests on two passengers reaching Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.
“This variant is yet unknown around the world,” the ministry statement reported.
However, China is presently seeing a huge surge of COVID-19 cases. Omicron, the most transmissible variant of SARS-CoV-2, was reported in South Africa last year. And, hence the world is still confused about how to react to these new variants.
HERE IS WHAT IS KNOWN TILL NOW:
BA.1+ BA.2: The new strain is a blend of the two sub-variants of Omicron, termed BA.1 and BA.2. The two patients who have tested positive of the seemingly new variant were passengers entering Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. There is no name for the new variant yet.
Symptoms: As announced, both these cases have mild symptoms of fever, headaches and muscle dystrophy. They did not need any special medical intervention. Both of the infected passengers are teenagers.
Where did it originate? Israel’s health ministry has not yet deduced its analysis to answer. The variant may have arisen in Israel, and the two passengers might have been infected before taking the flight, health ministry director-general Nachman Ash announced.
How concerning is the new variant? Israeli health specialists are asserting it is common to get combined strains. This happens when there are two viruses in the same cell, and “when they multiply, they swap genetic material, developing a new virus”, which is the basis given for combined strains.