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Daily Record
Daily Record
James Rodger & Jacob Rawley

Covid warning as experts say new Centaurus strain could be worse than mild Omicron sub-variants

Experts fear that a new Covid-19 Omicron strain could be even more infectious than the current dominant sub-variants. The US and India are showing concerns about the Centaurus strain, with some saying that it may have already spread widely.

The strain has been labelled BA.2/75 and is nicknamed Centaurus. It is part of the Omicron variant and, while further research needs to be carried out, health experts have concerns that it could be highly contagious.

Experts have said that developing sub-variants could lead to high reinfection rates, which comes as current dominant strains in Scotland - BA.4 and BA.5 - sit at an already notable 20.5 percent reinfection rate. Public Health Scotland has also found that Covid hospital numbers are up 15 per cent in Scotland despite a drop a in reported cases.

Down south there has also been an increase with 13,336 patients hospitalised in England as of 8am on July 11, Birmingham Live reports.

The World Health Organisation said in its latest update that globally, the number of new weekly cases increased for the fifth consecutive week and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has assigned BA.2/75 as a “variant under monitoring”.

What are experts saying?

Matthew Binnicker, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, warned: "But it does look like, especially in India, the rates of transmission are showing kind of that exponential increase."

Epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett said: "The more sub-variants we have, the greater the risk of re-infection. Everyone is game. If you recover from one variant but then come across a different one you could get it again.

"Each sub variant is a bit different and each one that comes along weakens our immunity."

Ulrich Elling, expert in genetics and Covid-19 testing and sequencing at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, said: "While the distribution across Indian regions as well as internationally and the very rapid appearance makes it likely we are dealing with a variant spreading fast and spread widely already, the absolute data points are few."

This comes as the most recent BA.4 and BA.5 Covid-19 omicron variants have been spreading swiftly through Scotland, with a notable reinfection rate. According to Public Health Scotland 's most recent report, in the week ending July 10, 2022, 3,384 (20.5 percent) of all cases reported were determined to be reinfections.

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