New Covid variant Pirola warning as ‘spreading’ outbreak confirmed at care home

A new coronavirus variant has been found in a UK care home, with a warning over the Pirola virus outbreak "spreading" confirmed.

Almost all 38 individuals tested positive for Covid, with a total of 33 confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency to be suffering from the outbreak at the Norfolk-based care home.

Only one of the 38 needed hospital treatment and so far no reports of death from the outbreak have been confirmed.

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The Pirola variant, scientifically known as BA.2.86, infected 22 residents and six members of staff, while the remaining five were not infected by the worrying new variant.

Specialists are now working with Norfolk County Council to offer out infection control advice and support for those affected.

Pirola variants were first identified on August 18 and have since been detected enough to warrant the UKHSA suggesting it is circulating the community.

No evidence has been found as yet to suggest the variant is more dangerous than others but those eligible for a booster vaccine were urged to get one at their earliest convenience, Metro reported.

Dr Renu Bindra, UKHSA incident director, said: "UKHSA scientists are working with international partners to culture the samples and analyse the evidence as it becomes available.

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"However, it is likely to be some time before we have enough data to make a confident assessment.

"It is clear that there is some degree of widespread community transmission, both in the UK and globally, and we are working to ascertain the full extent of this."

Care home residents and the clinically vulnerable are still eligible for the booster vaccine, with Dr Bindra confirming it "remains vital" those eligible for the booster shot take one.

She added: "In the meantime, it remains vital that all those eligible come forward to receive their autumn vaccine as soon as it is offered to them."

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