A new variant of COVID-19 has been found in Israel. The unidentified variant was detected in two people who had travelled abroad, reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoting the Israel health ministry.
The new variant of the virus is a combination of the BA.1 (omicron) and BA.2 variants. The two passengers infected with this variant landed at Ben-Gurion International airport and tested positive after a PCR test was done. Their samples were sent for sequencing, the report added.
The patients had symptoms including headaches, fever, and muscle aches, the report said quoting the ministry.
According to professor Salman Zarka, the linking up of the two variants when both are contracted together is not uncommon. He said that this phenomenon occurs when the two viruses are in the same cell. The professor added that they exchange genetic material upon multiplying which results in a new variant of the virus.
Salman Zarka shared that the two patients were a couple in their thirties and got the infections from their infant son.
This comes when India is witnessing a rise in Covid cases, particularly in six states namely Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Taking note of the uptick, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the six states urging them to focus on testing, treating, tracking, and vaccination.
“There are few states which are reporting a higher number of cases indicating the possible localised spread of infection and there is a need to follow a risk assessment-based approach to prevent & contain the infection, without losing the gains made so far in the fight against the pandemic,” the letter read.
According to the Union Health Ministry, over 700 Covid cases were reported in a day after a gap of more than four months. This took the active caseload to 4,623.