The new worrying Covid strain dubbed Pirola is ripping through the UK, but top scientists have admitted that they “know nothing about it”.
The variant is fast becoming the dominant strain in the England, with positive cases doubling almost every few days in recent weeks.
It has been confirmed that it has more than 30 different mutations, making it difficult for experts to analyse it properly – but it is worrying enough that the World Health Organisation has placed it on its watch list.
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And as the country heads into Autumn, it is thought that there will be a huge surge of cases from he BA.2.86 strain as was seen when the Coronavirus Pandemic was at its most dangerous in 2020 and 2021.
Worryingly, Yale Medicine's infectious diseases specialist Scott Roberts confirmed to Yale Medicine that “much about it remains unknown”.
He said: “Such a high number of mutations is notable.
When Omicron hit in the winter of 2021, there was a huge rise in COVID-19 cases because it was so different from the Delta variant, and it evaded immunity from both natural infection and vaccination.
“The other concern is that this strain has been picked up in at least six countries, and the cases are unrelated.
“This suggests some degree of transmission in the international community that we’re not detecting.”
“The biggest concern has been the number of mutation differences with BA.2.86 – when we went from XBB.1.5 to EG.5, that was maybe one or two mutations, and they were expected.
“With every respiratory virus, as it spreads from person to person, it evolves gradually over time, but these massive shifts, which we also saw from Delta to Omicron, are worrisome.”
Last month, experts in the UK urged the country's leadership to bring back mask wearing mandates in certain settings, but this has so far fallen on deaf ears.
The Daily Star has reached out to Downing Street for a comment.
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