An article published in the Yale Medicine Review on August 31 has noted the rise of Covid-19 infections in multiple countries, driven by a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 called BA.2.86, which is informally being termed ‘Pirola’.
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About SARS-CoV-2
- Virus Mutation Process
- About Pirola Variant
- SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the coronavirus family.
- It is the virus responsible for Covid-19 (Corona Virus Disease-2019), which caused the global pandemic.
- The virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets.
- Mutations are frequent as the virus circulates in humans, leading to the emergence of variants with higher transmission efficiency.
Virus Mutation Process
- When a virus infects cells, its genetic material (RNA or DNA) replicates, and errors during this process trigger mutations. The likelihood of mutation increases when a virus is widespread and causing many infections.
- Mutations are changes in DNA sequence.
- Most mutations have little impact on the virus’s ability to cause disease.
- But changes in specific areas of the genetic material can affect transmission and disease severity.
About Pirola Variant
- The WHO has recorded 21 global cases of Pirola as of August.
- The US and UK health agencies have found a few cases but consider the numbers too small to assess its transmission or severity.
- Despite low case numbers, it’s categorized as a “variant under monitoring” due to its 30+ mutations on the spike protein.
- Yale Medicine’s infectious diseases specialist is concerned about the high mutation count.
- The US CDC suggests some degree of transmissibility due to the highly mutated variants found in multiple countries.
Covid-19 Trend in India
- India has reported a low number of cases, with most being mild.
- In the previous 24 hours, India had only 18 cases, with Maharashtra having the highest count (over 200 out of 500 active cases).
-Source: Indian Express