A new variant has entered the UK, causing concern among experts (Image: Getty)
A highly-mutated variant of Covid-19 has officially entered the UK and experts are warning about the symptoms the public need to spot.
Pirola could be a threat because it is highly immune evasive which means it is very effective at evading your immune system.
Experts are concerned because despite only arriving recently, it is fast becoming the dominant strain in the UK with cases doubling every few days according to the Mirror.
What’s more, the variant has made it into 30 other countries and onto the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) watch list.
Although there is absolutely no indication of any form of lockdown, officials are warning the public to be on guard for any symptoms which they may liken to a cough, cold or the flu.
Pirola is the latest variant to hit the UK (Image: Getty)
In a statement, a spokesperson for the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said: “BA.2.86 continues to transmit within the UK, with sporadic cases identified in most regions.”
Professor Susan Hopkins, also of the UKHSA, said that despite warnings the available date was too limited to “draw conclusions”.
She explained: “While this is still very early data and more research is needed before we can be certain, it is encouraging to see an initial indication that BA.2.86 demonstrates similar levels of antibody escape compared to other variants circulating in the UK.
“The available data is too limited to draw conclusions about the severity of the illness it causes, but there is so far no evidence to suggest that it is more likely to make people seriously ill than other Omicron variants in circulation.”
Pirola could lead to a rise in hospitalisations (Image: Getty)
While the UKHSA is remaining tight-lipped until further information about the variant is known, others have gone into more detail about who it might impact and why we know so little about it.
Speaking to the Daily Record, NHS GP Dr Hana Patel said Pirola was “one to watch” because of its new mutations.
She added: “It tends to be people who have other health-related issues, so you know, pre-existing lung problems, or heart issues, or a suppressed immune system where they’re more likely to become unwell if they were to get Covid.”
According to a fresh ZOE study, the most common symptoms of Pirola include sneezing, a sore throat, runny nose, headache, and mild or severe fatigue.
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Restrictions are unlikely at the moment (Image: Getty)
Professor Stephen Griffith of Leeds University added that a lack of testing had had an impact on our knowledge of Pirola.
He said: “It’s not necessarily causing the big waves yet but it may be that in the future, it is the beginning of something else.
“We know it’s definitely able to avoid antibodies in our blood, but we haven’t seen it infect enough people yet to understand how serious it is. I think it’s about being cautious and biding our time.”
Ahead of Covid’s prime time to spread and cause illness, the government has begun its autumn vaccination programme.
The aim of this programme is to get as many people vaccinated before a wave hits so their bodies will be better able to cope with a viral attack.
Professor Hopkins said: The autumn vaccination programme started this month, and this new data shows once again how important it is that the most vulnerable among us are fully vaccinated in order to receive the greatest possible protection.
“I urge everyone eligible to come forward for their next dose as soon as they are called.”