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As cases of COVID-19 continue to trend downward in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new subset of the Delta variant on its radar.


According to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky, the recently identified AY4.2 sublineage in the United Kingdom has also been observed in the United States.

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“There are new forms that keep emerging as cases continue to spread,” Valensky said at Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing. “And in particular, the AY4.2 version has attracted some attention in recent times.”

Still, she said the AY4.2 subline is not visible “with recent increased frequency or clustering to date”.

related: Does the Delta version make COVID-19 worse for children?

And although the delta variant accounts for 99.7% of all US COVID-19 cases, the CDC’s latest genomic sequencing data Shows that its sub-lineages are hardly responsible for any.

The AY.1 subline accounted for only 0.1% of cases and no AY.2 subline cases were reported between October 10 and October 16.

Even though those nuisances have not been proven to be their parent’s strain, the subsections, as well as all forms, are being taken seriously by health officials.

Signage stands outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters on Saturday, March 14, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia, US. (Photographer: Eliza Novález/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“CDC is continuing to track the lineages and sublines of the Delta and all other types,” Valensky said. “Over the past 9 months, as we have previously reported, we have increased our sequencing capabilities in partnership with local public health and educational institutions.”

Valensky said the CDC specifically tracks sublines that can affect therapeutics such as vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.

“At this time, there is no evidence that sub-lineage AY4.2 affects the effectiveness of our current vaccines or therapeutics,” concluded Valensky, “and we will continue to follow this.”

Meanwhile, health officials in the UK continue to monitor the tension. So far, it has accounted for a small but growing number of cases in the UK.

This story was reported from Atlanta.