Skip to main content

COVID-19: BA.2.86 the most 'mutated' variant since Omicron

Canada's first case of BA.2.86, has been detected in British Columbia but an emergency-room physician says the "real test" for the highly "mutated" variant will be in the weeks after children return to the classroom for the new school year.

"We don't know a lot yet," Dr. Kashif Pirzada said on CTV News Channel on Wednesday. "We're starting to see an uptick in cases and hospitalizations."

Although much about the new variant remains unknown, Pirzada warns that there's "enough changes" from the original Omicron strain to keep a close eye on it.

"When are we going to know more about this variant? How quickly is it spreading?"

However, Pirzada says currently the symptoms are similar to variants of the past and include loss of taste and smell, fever, chills, body aches.

With the start of the new school year around the corner, Pirzada says we may soon see "a lot more spread" and recommended Canadians who are older or have underlying medical conditions stay up-to-date with COVID-19 boosters.

Pirzada says it's not known yet what level of protection the latest booster shots will provide against BA.2.86 "the hope is" that it will match up closely.

"In two weeks when it's available, I'm going to get it." Pirzada shared, "I don't want to get sick with this thing."

Watch the full interview by clicking the video at the top of this article. Top Stories

'No concessions' St-Onge says in $100M a year news deal with Google

The Canadian government has reached a deal with Google over the Online News Act that will see the tech giant pay $100 million annually to publishers, and continue to allow access to Canadian news content on its platform. This comes after Google had threatened to block news on its platform when the contentious new rules come into effect next month.


opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.

Stay Connected