Three cases of new Covid variant detected in Denmark

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Three cases of new Covid variant detected in Denmark
An illustration file photo showing analysis of Covid-19 samples. Denmark is monitoring a highly mutated new subvariant of Omicron. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) says it is keeping tabs on BA.2.86, a new subvariant of the Covid-19 variant Omicron, which has been detected in several countries including Denmark.


SSI said on Friday that it had found a third case of a new subvariant of Omicron, called BA.2.86, in Denmark.

The subvariant was detected in Denmark this week and three cases of it have been found so far. Isolated cases have also been reported in Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom.

It is still too early to conclude anything about how contagious the subvariant is, or whether it causes more serious disease than other types of Omicron, SSI said on its website.

None of the three cases in Denmark have had symptoms different from ordinary Covid-19, however. SSI expects that vaccines will provide good protection against serious disease, the agency’s medical director Tyra Grove Krause said in the statement.


“We also do not consider that the increase in infections we have seen in recent weeks is due to this new virus variant,” Krause also said.

SSI is currently cultivating the subvariant at its own labs to assess how effective antibodies from existing  Covid-19 vaccines are against it.

Although SSI appears relaxed about the sub-variant, it nevertheless differs "significantly" from the other variants of omicron. This makes it unusual according to Morten Rasmussen, a senior researcher with the disease control agency.

“It is unusual for corona to change so markedly and develop 30 new mutations. The last time we saw a big change was when Omicron emerged,” he said in the statement.

SSI said in a social media post on Wednesday that the variant had been detected in two people in Denmark and one in Israel. This was the first time the subvariant had been confirmed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday classified the variant as a "variant under monitoring" (VUM).

The first case of the new variant was registered on July 24th according to the WHO and there has since been considerable international attention on the variant.



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