Update on SARS-CoV-2 Variant BA.2.86 Being Tracked by CDC

September 15, 2023, 3:00 PM EDT

CDC is posting updates on respiratory viruses every week; for the latest information, please visit CDC Respiratory Virus Updates.

CDC is tracking a SARS-CoV-2 variant called BA.2.86 and working to better understand its potential impact on public health. This update follows CDC’s previous BA.2.86 update on September 8, 2023.

Moving forward, we will share updates on BA.2.86 when significant additional information becomes available. It is anticipated that this will be our last routine weekly update for this variant.

Read about CDC’s recommendations for updated COVID-19 vaccines, and learn more about ways to keep you and your loved ones safe as we head into the fall and winter respiratory virus season.

What’s New?

  • During the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting on September 12, 2023, manufacturers of the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines presented laboratory evidence demonstrating that their vaccines are expected to provide protection against the virus that causes COVID-19, including the BA.2.86 variant.
  • At this time, BA.2.86 does not appear to be rapidly increasing or driving increases in infections or hospitalizations in the United States.
  • There are likely low levels of community transmission of BA.2.86 occurring within several countries, including parts of the United States. We are concluding this because some of the people infected with BA.2.86 do not have known links to other infected individuals and did not recently travel to an area with known cases of illness from BA.2.86.
  • It is unclear how easily BA.2.86 spreads compared to other circulating variants. An investigation of a recent outbreak in a long-term care facility in the United Kingdom showed that, like other variants, transmission can occur in congregate settings.
  • CDC will continue monitoring BA.2.86 and other circulating variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The remainder of CDC’s assessment remains unchanged from the September 8 update.