Another Powerful COVID-19 Subvariant Found In Parts Of U.S. And Israel

According to health officials a subvariant of the COVID-19 delta mutation previously seen in the United Kingdom has now been found in the U.S. and Israel, health officials said.

During Wednesday’s White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky confirmed that the subvariant has now been found in the U.S.

“In the United States, delta remains the dominant variant with more than 99.7% of sequence cases in the country being caused by delta,” Walensky said. “There are new variants that continue to emerge as cases continue to spread, and in particular, the AY4.2 variant has drawn some attention in recent days.

“AY4.2 is a sublineage of the delta variant that has recently been identified in the U.K., and we have, on occasion, identified the sublineage here in the United States but not with recent increased frequency or clustering to date.”

The subvariant was first found in Israel in an 11-year-old boy who entered the country from Moldova. The boy was identified at the airport and placed in isolation.

Health officials say there is no evidence at this time that would indicate the new strain is causing an uptick in coronavirus cases.

The former United States Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Sunday called for research into the subvariant.

“UK reported its biggest one-day [COVID] case increase in 3 months just as the new delta variant AY.4 with the S:Y145H mutation in the spike reaches 8% of UK sequenced cases,” Gottlieb tweeted. “We need urgent research to figure out if this delta plus is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion?”

Israel’s Health Ministry officials plan to hold a meeting on the subvariant amid fears that the new strain could reverse the country’s currently declining infection numbers.

In the U.K., COVID-19 infection rates have remained high, despite high rates of vaccination. Nearly 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded Monday.

In Israel, 1,486 new infections were reported on Monday and with an additional 701 reported by late Tuesday.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was keeping a “close eye” on the AY.4.2 variant, however he said there was no evidence it spreads more easily.

“As you would expect, we are monitoring it closely and won’t hesitate to take action if necessary,” he told reporters, the Times of Israel reported.

“Just as the new delta variant AY.4 with the S:Y145H mutation in the spike reaches 8% of UK sequenced cases,” Gottlieb tweeted. “We need urgent research to figure out if this delta plus is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion?”

Israel’s Health Ministry officials plan to hold a meeting on the subvariant as fears that the new strain could reverse the country’s currently decreasing infection numbers.

In the U.K., COVID-19 infection rates have remained high, despite high rates of vaccination. Nearly 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Monday alone.

In Israel, 1,486 new infections were reported on Monday with an additional 701 by late Tuesday.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was keeping a “close eye” on the AY.4.2 variant, however, there was no evidence it spreads more easily.

“As you would expect, we are monitoring it closely and won’t hesitate to take action if necessary,” he told reporters, the Times of Israel reported.

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