Another COVID-19 variant has emerged, this one decidedly different from the ones that have come before. This variant, BA.2.86, or “Pirola” differs from variants such as Eris by being derived from a different strain of the coronavirus than Omicron, which has become one of the most prevalent strains of the virus since it the strain emerged in late 2021. Pirola is a very new strain, so scientists are scrambling to understand if it poses a greater risk to humans than its predecessors. We’ll tell you everything we currently know about Pirola, as well as what you need to protect yourself from it and all other forms of COVID out there.
What is the new COVID variant Pirola?
Pirola is a strain of COVID-19 first reported in August of 2023. As of August 19th, only seven cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Pirola represents an entirely new lineage of COVID-19, meaning it isn’t derived from a previous variant, such as Omicron. Pirola has 30 mutations, which is more mutations than other variants currently circulating. This means that current vaccinations—as well as the one rolling out this fall—may not protect against Pirola as well as Omicron variants, for which the vaccination was designed. That said, it’s feasible that high population-level immunity may prevent an Omicron-like surge, according to Dr. Rajendram Rajnarayanan, Assistant Dean of Research and Associate Professor at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University.
Where is the new COVID variant Pirola spreading?
There are seven reported cases of Pirola found across four countries, including Denmark, Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. One individual with COVID Pirola was reported in Washtenaw County, Michigan.
Symptoms of new COVID variant Pirola
No unique symptoms of Pirola are currently known. The individual with Pirola in Michigan reportedly had mild symptoms and did not need to be hospitalized. There are currently no studies on Pirola, but scientists are working to figure out what risks it may pose compared to other variants.
What we do know are the most common symptoms of COVID-19 in general, which include:
How to protect yourself and others from new COVID variant Pirola
Wearing a quality mask that blocks ingestion of COVID-19 molecules remains the most effective way to protect yourself from the virus. N95 masks filter 95% of airborne particles, including the ones responsible for the transmission of COVID-19. When buying these masks off the web, make sure to verify that they’re legitimate, as there are many fakes out there.
MAGID N95 Respirator Masks
N95 masks are the golden standard when it comes to protecting against COVID-19.
An air purifier
An air purifier can remove harmful air particles from your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this includes COVID-19 particles by way of using HEPA filters. Fortunately, the best air purifier we’ve tested, the Blueair Blue Pure 311i Max, has a quality HEPA filter. Not only does this purifier boast excellent filtering, but it’s quiet, simple to use and has a washable filter.
BLUEAIR Air Purifier
An air purifier can remove harmful air particles from your home, including those from COVID-19.
COVID-19 can spread when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after coming in contact with a surface contaminated by viral droplets. Therefore, another way to keep yourself safe from Pirola is to diligently wash your hands using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel
To protect from COVID-19, it’s important to use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
You can also opt to decontaminate surfaces by using a disinfectant wipe. Consider wiping down surfaces that are touched often such as doorknobs, remote controls, and light switches.
Lysol Dual Action Disinfectant Wipes
When used properly, Lysol wipes can rid surfaces of COVID-19 particles.
If you start to feel under the weather, it’s important to monitor your symptoms. The first thing you should do is use a thermometer to see if you’re running a fever. One of the best thermometers you can buy is Femometer’s digital infrared thermometer. It delivers accurate readings and features a high-temperature warning.
We love the Femometer for its accuracy and ease of use.
A COVID-19 at-home test
Questioning whether or not you have COVID? Whether you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms yourself or you’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive, you should take a COVID-19 test to see where you stand. Fortunately, at-home tests are now widely available and will give you results in 15 minutes.
BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test
Find out if you have COVID-19 in as little as 15 minutes.