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Greece Confirms First Case of COVID’s Centaurus Subvariant

Centaurus Variant
The first case of omicron BA.2.7 ‘Centaurus’ variant was diagnosed in Greece. Credit: Public Domain

On Tuesday, Greece confirmed the first case of omicron BA.2.7 ‘Centaurus’ variant in the country. Health authorities have not revealed where the case was discovered.

Greek experts had recently warned that Centaurus could become dominant in Greece by the end of September to early October.

Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, professor of environmental engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, recently 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 had said.

On Monday, Greece opened the online appointments booking platform for updated COVID-19 vaccines.

The National Vaccination Committee said that the actual vaccinations, which are effective against Omicron mutations 1, 2, and 5 will begin on Wednesday.

Centaurus was first detected in India in early May

The BA.2.75 subvariant has 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.

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.

The WHO has not yet designated BA.2.75 as a variant of concern in its own right, though it is currently monitoring it.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) designated it a “variant under monitoring” on July 7, 2022, as it has been detected in European countries including the U.K. and Germany.

Experts first detected this variant in India in May, where it was reportedly spreading more rapidly than other Omicron subvariants.


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