Israel on Sunday confirmed the first case of a new variant of COVID-19, BA.2.86, which has been nicknamed by scientists on social media as Pirola, i24NEWS reported.
This past Thursday, the World Health Organization said it is closely monitoring the new variant which has been detected in Israel, Denmark and the United States.
The WHO classified BA.2.86 as being under surveillance "due to the large number (more than 30) of spike gene mutations it carries".
"The potential impact of the BA.2.86 mutations are presently unknown and undergoing careful assessment," the WHO said.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed it is also closely monitoring the variant.
"As we learn more about BA.2.86, CDC's advice on protecting yourself from COVID-19 remains the same," the agency said.
The new variant has 36 mutations from the currently-dominant XBB.1.5 strain.
The CDC said that "as we learn more about BA.2.86, CDC's advice on protecting yourself from COVID-19 remains the same."