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Scientist Expects Heavily-Mutated Omicron Subvariant to Reach New Zealand

Scientist Expects Heavily-Mutated Omicron Subvariant to Reach New Zealand

A highly mutated Omicron subvariant known as "Pirola" has been causing concern globally due to its distinctive mutations. Despite not yet being detec

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A highly mutated Omicron subvariant known as “Pirola” has been causing concern globally due to its distinctive mutations. Despite not yet being detected in New Zealand, an ESR scientist believes it’s only a matter of time before it arrives. Pirola’s mutations have raised questions about its potential to spread and cause more severe illness. New Zealand’s well-connected status to the world makes it likely to eventually encounter this variant. The country’s comprehensive genome sequencing efforts, including wastewater surveillance, will play a crucial role in identifying the variant’s presence. Another subvariant, EG.5 or “Eris,” has been driving surges in the US and is gaining prevalence in New Zealand, potentially accounting for a significant portion of sequenced cases. However, it’s not expected to trigger a wave of cases as seen in 2022 due to the country’s high vaccination rate and prior exposure. New Zealand’s variant profile remains unique compared to the rest of the world.

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