The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) has detected the COVID-19 subvariant BA.2.86 in Aotearoa New Zealand for the first time in wastewater samples taken earlier this month.
The subvariant was first detected in late July in Denmark and Israel, and cases have been slowly increasing globally. It has not yet been detected in New Zealand in any people hospitalised with COVID-19.
BA.2.86 has been deemed a ‘variant under monitoring’ by the World Health Organization. However, there are no indications at this stage it is substantially more severe or infectious than other subvariants circulating in our communities.
Manatū Hauora – the Ministry of Health and ESR are carrying out surveillance on this and other subvariants and closely monitoring developments here and overseas, as well as emerging international evidence.