The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking a new COVID-19 subvariant of concern that is spreading quickly in the United States.
The CDC began reporting on the omicron subvariant BA.4.6. this week, saying the new subvariant has been “circulating for several weeks” in the U.S., Fortune reported.
The subvariant is currently more prevalent in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, according to the CDC. It makes up 10.7% of all local cases in that region.
It is responsible for about 4% of all cases of COVID-19 in the United States.
The number of cases tracked to the BA.4.6 variant is also being seen in the mid-Atlantic region and the South.
Researchers are working to determine if BA.4.6, a mutation of omicron variant BA.4, is more contagious than the original omicron variant.
According to Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, the BA.4.6′s mutation “does not appear to be concerning [compared to] BA.4/5.”
Bailey Glen, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, said he has seen the BA.4.6 subvariant spreading.
“We see a BA.4.6 that we haven’t seen until now. There’s still lots of change going on. From a genetic perspective, it’s still rapidly adapting. It’s still just kind of wild how much it’s able to change and adapt.”
BA.4.6 has been detected in 43 other countries, according to outbreak.info.
While symptoms can vary, general symptoms of BA.4, of which BA.4.6 is a subvariant, include:
· Runny nose
· Sore throat
· Persistent cough
According to the ZOE COVID Study, fewer than one-third of people surveyed reported fevers with their COVID-19 infection.
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