Susan Hopkins Britain city Oxford covid-19 testing security infection vaccines show Analysis Susan Hopkins Britain city Oxford

COVID-19 variants identified in the UK – latest updates

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UKHSA) has published its containing updated analysis of the emergent variant BA.2.86.BA.2.86 continues to transmit within the UK, with sporadic cases identified in most regions.The briefing contains early laboratory data from a number of scientific organisations around the UK, including UKHSA’s own Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC), the University of Oxford, the Glasgow Centre of Virus Research and the Pirbright Institute.This early data indicates that BA.2.86 is no more likely to evade existing antibodies than XBB.1.5, another variant that has been circulating widely in the UK.While the available data remains limited, there is currently no evidence to suggest that BA.2.86 infection is more likely to make people seriously ill than currently-circulating variants, while vaccination is likely to provide continued protection.UKHSA will continue to monitor vaccine effectiveness in the population throughout the winter and will publish updated analysis in due course.Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor, UKHSA said:While this is still very early data and more research is needed before we can be certain, it is encouraging to see an initial indication that BA.2.86 demonstrates similar levels of antibody escape compared to other variants circulating in the UK.

The available data is too limited to draw conclusions about the severity of the illness it causes, but there is so far no evidence to suggest that it is more likely to make people seriously ill than other Omicron variants in circulation.The autumn vaccination programme started this month, and this new data shows once again how important it is that the most vulnerable among us are fully vaccinated in order to receive the greatest possible protection.

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