A new Covid mutated BA.2.86 variant - or ‘Pirola’ - has been discovered in a number of other countries according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The UKHSA confirmed the existence of a case in the UK but declined to comment further.

The news comes just days after reports that 800,000 Brits may be suffering from another new strain of Covid, Eris, according to the latest figures.

Eris is a subvariant of the Omicron variant of the disease, meaning many symptoms are similar. It is also being blamed for the latest spike as it now accounts for one in seven Covid cases.

Experts believe the new strains could have up to 30 changes in their protein makeup, as reported by the Mirror.

Scientists are on alert as it is believed the mutations could dodge the body's immunity from prior infections or vaccination.

Only six cases of the strain have thus far been detected worldwide, but top scientists said it's clear it will spread much more widely.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to be aware of the symptoms to stay wary of the new variant.

The key symptoms are what you might expect from Covid, including:

  • high fever
  • cough
  • cold
  • loss of the sense of taste or smell

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, said testing and being vigilant was vital in the fight against the coronavirus. “We wouldn’t know if the virus is changing, in case we don’t test enough. Testing is vital to see how the virus is evolving,” he said.

Typically, viruses become less deadly as they mutate as this gives them a better chance of survival - but it is unknown what the situation is.

CDC spokeswoman Kathleen Conley said in a statement: "Today we are more prepared than ever to detect and respond to changes in the Covid-19 virus. Scientists are working now to understand more about the newly identified lineage in these 4 cases and we will share more information as it becomes available."

Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and lead for the Covid response at the WHO wrote on Twitter: "Surveillance, sequencing and Covid-19 reporting critical to track known and detect new variants."

Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutch Cancer Centre, also said yesterday: "Deep mutational scanning indicates BA.2.86 variant will have equal or greater escape than XBB.1.5 from antibodies elicited by pre-Omicron and first-generation Omicron variants."