It has been given the catchy name AY.4.2.
The first cases of a new strain of the COVID-19 Delta variant have been confirmed in B.C.
In a press conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that they had identified the cases of what is called the AY.4.2 strain of the Delta variant.
She said, "We are continuing to follow the whole genome sequencing and making sure we're aware of what strains are being transmitted here in British Columbia."
The province is also tracking two other strains of the Delta variant — called AY.25 and AY.27 — which currently make up around two-thirds of the province's cases.
How Does This New Strain Happen?
Dr. Henry said, "All viruses mutate. We know that. And development of these new lineages, which are unique to geographic areas, are really expected over time when we have ongoing transmission in our communities."
Is It Making People Sicker?
She said that while this new strain is not yet classified as a variant of concern, they are monitoring how it affects those who are infected.
Dr. Henry said: "So far, what we have seen and what we've talked about over the last number of weeks, is the fact that the strains of the Delta variant that we're seeing are spreading much faster and causing more severe illness in younger people and that remains the same."
What Other Physicians Are Saying
Earlier this month, during a physician town hall, Dr. Jessica Minion, a medical microbiologist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, told fellow doctors about two new strains of the Delta variant circulating in western Canada called AY.25 and AY.27.
She told the town hall, "We warned people that uncontrolled spread is going to lead to evolution of the virus. You give it enough opportunities to pass through enough people you're going to get something unique to western Canada and this is what it is."
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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