British Columbia has confirmed its first cases of AY.4.2, a descendant of the Delta COVID-19 variant linked to a growing number of infections in the UK.
Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry announced three cases of AY.4.2 on Tuesday, noting that the subline has not yet been classified as a “worrying variant” and that much remains to be known. about its effect on the population.
“We’re continuing to monitor the whole genome sequence and make sure we don’t know what strains are being transmitted here in British Columbia,” said Henry.
All three confirmed cases linked to one family were exposed at the same time.
AY.4.2 accounted for just over 11% of Delta cases in the UK in the week of October 17, according to the latest data available, but health officials have yet to determine if its spread is the result. result of biological differences or not.
The BC government is also monitoring AY.4.2 to determine if the progeny causes more severe disease or shows greater resistance to the approved COVID-19 vaccine, Henry said.
Initial indications in the UK showed that it did not affect vaccine efficacy.
BC is also continuing to monitor two other Delta mutations, AY.25 and AY.27, which were first detected in the province in June and now account for about two-thirds of the local cases.
“The strains of the Delta variant that we’ve seen are spreading much faster and causing more severe disease in younger people, and that’s not changing,” Henry said. “And our best defense continues to be vaccinated.”
Provincial health officials note that COVID-19, like any virus, will continue to mutate if it has more opportunity to spread to new hosts.
“There are about 120 different subtypes of the Delta virus around the world,” says Henry.
“The development of these new lineages, which are unique to the geographical regions, is really to be expected over time as we continue to indoctrinate in our community.”