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Covid variant is now in Britain as Patient is hospitalised in London

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A heavily-mutated Covid variant dubbed the ‘real deal’ is already in the UK, health officials confirmed on Friday, August 18 amid fears it could trigger a fresh wave.

Virus-tracking researchers detected the Omicron spin-off – nicknamed Pirola but also known scientifically as BA.X/BA.2.86 – in a patient hospitalised in London.

The unidentified patient is thought to have caught the strain within the UK.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) bosses did not reveal exactly how many cases have been spotted so far. But top scientists claim the discovery means ‘we can be pretty sure it’s circulating more widely’.

Only six cases of the strain first spotted last month have been detected so far worldwide, in the US, Denmark, and Israel.

The three Danish cases ‘are from different parts of the country, and do not appear to have had contact with each other’, it said, indicating community transmission.

Dr Meera Chand, deputy director of the UKHSA told MailOnline: ‘We are aware that BA.2.86 has been detected in the UK.

‘UKHSA is assessing the situation and will provide further information in due course.’

Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell, a physician specialising in infectious diseases and microbiology, claimed a patient at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London had the strain.

The infection had been acquired ‘locally’, he said.

Dr Blagdon Snell later added there was no ‘immediately obvious’ connection between the UK case and others seen across the world.

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