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Centaurus Variant Expected to Dominate COVID Cases in Greece

Centaurus coronavirus
Fifty percent of cases will be due to Centaurus a Greek expert said. Credit: AMNA

The BA.2.75 variant of COVID-19, nicknamed Centaurus, is expected to become dominant in Greece by the end of September to early October, according to estimates by a Greek expert.

Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, professor of environmental engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, noted that the Centaurus variant is more worrying than Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.

“Fifty percent of cases will be due to it,” he said, stressing that for the time being, the very hot weather is inhibiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking about the development of the coronavirus from September, when schools will reopen and people will have returned to work, he said a mixed phenomenon is expected.

“A significant increase in dispersal reaching 30,000 median cases with a simultaneous controlled increase in the hard indicators of the pandemic will occur,” he said.

As for the impact this will have on fatalities, he argued that deaths could approach fifty to sixty per day by the end of November.

He also stressed the necessity of a fourth vaccine dose, stating that both people over the age of sixty and younger should have it with the consent of a doctor.

COVID’s Centaurus was first detected in India in early May

The BA.2.75 subvariant has also made its way to over twenty other countries, including several in the Americas and Europe. Still, experts are mixed on how much of a threat it will pose to the rest of the world amidst and in the wake of the BA.5 surge.

“It’s clearly growing pretty well in India, but India hasn’t got much BA.5, and it is still very unclear how well it fares against [that],” Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, told The Guardian.

Like other Omicron subvariants, BA.2.75 is more infectious and better at evading the human immune system—both vaccine and infection induced protections alike—than earlier variants of concern. Though data are still limited, researchers have determined that the subvariant carries nine mutations on its spike proteins.

“That’s the part of the virus that sticks out and binds to the host cell receptor, and those mutations allow the virus to bind to that receptor more efficiently,” Matthew Binnicker, director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic, explains in a press release.

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