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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 28, 2023  2 months, 3 weeks, 6 days, 22 minutes ago

BREAKING U.S. Medical News! SARS-CoV-2 Infections Surging In America With One Out Of 10 New COVID-19 Cases Being Due To BA.2.86 Sub-Lineages!

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BREAKING U.S. Medical News! SARS-CoV-2 Infections Surging In America With One Out Of 10 New COVID-19 Cases Being Due To BA.2.86 Sub-Lineages!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 28, 2023  2 months, 3 weeks, 6 days, 22 minutes ago
U.S. Medical News: In a disconcerting revelation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has disclosed a substantial surge in SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States, with the BA.2.86 variant now responsible for nearly 10% of new COVID-19 cases. This marks a threefold increase in prevalence within a mere two weeks, prompting heightened concerns among health officials and the general populace. Notably, the Northeast, particularly the New York and New Jersey region, has emerged as a hotspot, attributing 13.1% of cases to this highly mutated variant.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
 


BA.2.86 Takes Center Stage

Monday's data release represents a pivotal moment as BA.2.86's prevalence has surged enough to be categorized as a standalone variant in the U.S.CDC's estimates. Initially discovered in the summer, scientists had previously grouped BA.2.86 with other BA.2 strains due to its rarity. However, recent trends have necessitated a reassessment, shedding light on the variant's newfound prominence in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.
 
Uncertainties in Estimates
Acknowledging a wide margin of error in its estimates, ranging from 4.8% to 15.2%, the U.S. CDC's latest figure of 8.8% through November 25 is a significant increase from the 3.0% reported on November 11. The agency attributes this surge to the dynamic nature of early projections, cautioning that reliability may be compromised as laboratory-based testing for SARS-CoV-2 has decreased over time.
 
BA.2.86 vs. XBB Variant and Its Descendants
Before the ascent of BA.2.86, the XBB variant and its closely related descendants, including HV.1 and EG.5, were the predominant contributors to new COVID-19 cases in the United States. Despite BA.2.86's ascendancy, the U.S.CDC maintains that the strain is not currently driving increases in infections or hospitalizations across America.
 
JN.1 Variant Raises Concerns
According to U.S. Medical News updates, recent weeks have witnessed a surge in the JN.1 variant in the United States, a descendant of BA.2.86, that is also rapidly becoming the fastest-growing subvariant worldwide. Notably reported in Europe, JN.1 has been identified as a significant driver of BA.2.86 infections in some regions, reaching 10% of sequences in France. While early investigations have not raised alarms, the U.S. CDC projects continued increases in both BA.2.86 and its offshoots, including JN.1, in the genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2.
 
Vaccine Efficacy and Public Health Risk
Amidst the escalating prevalence of BA.2.86, questions arise regarding vaccine efficacy and the potential public health risk associated with this variant. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently elevated BA.2.86 to the status of a "variant of interest" as global proportions, including an 8.8% presence in the United States, continue to grow.
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/21112023_ba.2.86_ire.pdf?sfvrsn=8876def1_3">https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/21112023_ba.2.86_ire.pdf?sfvrsn=8876def1_3
 
Early data on BA.2.86 suggests no significant change in symptoms compared to previous strains, and both the U.S. CDC and WHO deem the current public health risk as low.
 
JN.1 Variant and Vaccine Preparedness
As JN.1 becomes the most common version of BA.2.86 in the United States, concerns regarding vaccine effectiveness against this evolving landscape emerge. However, the U.S. CDC reassures the public that this season's vaccines are expected to remain effective against JN.1, mirroring their efficacy against the BA.2.86 parent strain.
 
Global Snapshot and Emerging Trends
While caution is urged due to declines in testing and reporting, regions such as Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean show upward trends in COVID-19 deaths. Intensive care unit admissions in these regions are on the rise, increasing by 26%.
 
The JN.1 Variant's Global Significance
The JN.1 variant, identified as a descendant of BA.2.86, has captured the attention of scientists globally. Characterized by a steep increase in prevalence, particularly in Europe, JN.1 has become the fastest-growing subvariant, comprising as much as a third of COVID-19 variants reported from labs in the United States.
https://cov-spectrum.org/explore/United%20States/AllSamples/from%3D2023-05-22%26to%3D2023-11-27/variants?nextcladePangoLineage=JN.1*&
 
Authorities in France have reported that JN.1 is a major driver behind the country's surge in BA.2.86 infections, reaching 10% of sequences.
 
Despite the rapid rise of JN.1, early investigations have not revealed alarming signals. French authorities have conveyed that, as of November 13, no worrisome signals have emerged in comparison to other BA.2.86 infections. However, in-depth analyses are underway to understand the implications of this subvariant fully.
 
U.S. CDC's Projections and Insights
The CDC, since August, has observed a gradual increase in the proportions of BA.2.86, which now account for 5% to 15% of circulating viruses. The agency anticipates that this percentage will likely continue to rise, raising questions about the impact on the trajectory of the pandemic. However, in a separate assessment, the U.S. CDC emphasizes that BA.2.86 and its relatives, including JN.1, do not appear to be the primary drivers of increases in cases and hospitalizations in the U.S.
https://www.cdc.gov/respiratory-viruses/whats-new/covid-19-variant-update-2023-11-27.html
 
Despite the rise in prevalence, the U.S. CDC maintains agreement with the WHO's latest risk assessment that the public health risk associated with BA.2.86 is low compared to other circulating variants. This assessment is based on the limited available evidence, highlighting the need for ongoing research and monitoring.
 
Additional Variant Trends
Amidst the spotlight on BA.2.86 and its descendants, other variants are also showing rising proportions in the United States. The HV.1 variant, for instance, has seen a substantial increase, now accounting for 31.7% of reported variants. Variants such as HK.3, JD.1.1, and JG.3 are also demonstrating an upward trend, contributing to the complexity of the evolving landscape of SARS-CoV-2.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
 
U.S. Severity Indicators
In its latest data update covering the week ending November 18, the U.S. CDC reports notable increases in severity indicators. Hospitalizations have risen by 9.7%, while deaths have increased by 8.3%. High categories for hospitalizations are primarily observed in limited counties, mostly in the Midwest. States such as Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio show slightly elevated levels of deaths, indicating localized impacts.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home
 
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#ed-visits_all_ages_combined

https://www.hhs.gov/ash/about-ash/regional-offices/region-5/index.html
 
Conclusion
The surge of the BA.2.86 variant, coupled with the emergence of its descendant JN.1, presents a formidable challenge in the ongoing battle against COVID-19. Questions about vaccine efficacy, public health risk, and the potential impact on global health systems underscore the need for continued research, effective communication, and a coordinated global response. As scientists monitor these variants and their trajectories, it becomes imperative for public health authorities to remain vigilant and adapt strategies to mitigate the spread of these emerging strains. The ever-changing dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 demand a proactive and collaborative approach to safeguard public health on a global scale.
 
For the latest U.S. Medical News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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