The WHO has declared BA.2.86, a new COVID variant, as a "variant under monitoring."
BA.2.86 is thought to have evolved from a much earlier strain of Omicron, BA.2, or perhaps from the original Omicron, B.1.1.529.
BA.2.86 has 30 or more mutations that separate it from other Omicron strains, making it considerably more immune-evasive.
BA.2.86 has been detected in the US, Israel, Denmark, and the UK.
The cases are geographically dispersed, with no travel history, suggesting that there is established international transmission.
It is unclear whether BA.2.86 will cause more severe disease or hospitalizations than other Omicron strains.
BA.2.86 is likely to be more transmissible than other Omicron strains.
The new COVID vaccines that are scheduled to be released in September may not be as effective against BA.2.86.
Treatments like COVID antiviral Paxlovid should still work well against BA.2.86.
The number of COVID cases is increasing in the US and worldwide.
Trump Arrested in Georgia for Trying to Overturn Election Results