A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in two passengers returning to Israel from abroad, the Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported citing a statement from the country’s Health Ministry.
“The Health Ministry said that PCR tests performed on the passengers upon arrival in the country revealed a variant that appears to be a combination of the Omicron variant and its BA.2 variant,” the publication said.
The passengers are reported to have mild symptoms of the disease, such as fever and headache. None of them needs special medical care.
The new variant is unlikely to supplant other strains, says immunologist and Bar Ilan University professor Cyril Cohen, whose opinion is cited in the publication.
“The mass infection we saw during the Omicron wave will serve as a defense, at least for a while,” he said. Those who have had omicron are relatively immune to the virus they had, as well as variants of it that came later. The rate of coronavirus and the number of seriously ill patients hospitalized in Israel continues to decline.