The CDC says it's identified a new Delta-related coronavirus variant in the US, and officials are monitoring it closely

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Scientists around the globe are closely monitoring AY.4.2, a new coronavirus type.

AY.4.2 is a descendant from the Delta variant. According to the CDC, it has been detected "occasionally" in the US.

It is not yet clear if AY.4.2 is more transmissible than Delta or if it just has some luck in the UK.

Scientists in Israel, the UK and the US are closely monitoring AY.4.2, a new descendant of coronavirus related to Delta.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AY.4.2 remains "very rare" in America.

The CDC stated in a Wednesday statement that it was well below 0.05% for all sequenced viruses and had less than 10 reports in our database, according to Insider.

The CDC stated that AY.4, which is the parent lineage for the new variant, "represents approximately 11% of all the Delta viruses in America."

Although there have been many AY variants of the Delta variant, AY.4.2 has attracted the attention virus-watchers all over the globe. It has two modifications to the viral spike protein that could give it some benefits. It's not clear if this is the case.

The CDC stated that "At the moment... there is not evidence that the sub-lineage A.Y.4.2 affects the effectiveness of our existing vaccines or therapeutics."

According to the UK Health Security Agency, AY.4.2 is now "expanding" in England. It is also "increasing its frequency". This is an estimated 6% increase in sequenced strains. Israeli health officials confirmed their first case of AY.4.2 Tuesday.

Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, stated on Twitter that there was "urgent research" needed to determine how serious a threat the new Delta descendant is.

It is possible that AY.4.2 may be slightly more transmittable than the other viruses we have seen. This is not a reason to panic.

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"This situation is not comparable to the emergence Alpha and Delta, which were far more transmissible (50% or more than any strain in circulation at that time)," Professor Francois Balloux, Director, University College London Genetics Institute said Tuesday. "We are dealing with a small increase in transmissibility, which would not have an equivalent impact on the pandemic."

The US has identified AY.4.2 "occasionally".

The majority of COVID-19 test results are not sequenced. Thomas Pallini/Insider

"We have, at times, identified the sublineage in the United States," Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, said Wednesday morning during a White House coronavirus briefing. She was referring to AY.4.2.

(The UK has seen a greater increase in AY.4.2 cases in recent months and has done a better job than the US in tracking and sequencing coronavirus variants during the pandemic.

Jeffrey Barrett, a genetics expert at the Wellcome Sanger Institute who is leading the COVID-19 Initiative, stated that it's possible that AY.4.2 had just experienced some "epidemiological luck” in the UK.

Professor Balloux agreed.

He said that the subvariant was found in Denmark, which is the only country with excellent genomic surveillance. It reached a frequency of 2%, but has declined since.

Business Insider has the original article.