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The kraken, a new COVID-19 variant, is spreading across the U.S.

Another COVID-19 variant is lurking in the U.S., and spreading even faster than its counterparts. 

Known as “the kraken,” this omicron subvariant was first detected in New York and is eluding vaccines and antibodies. 

But Dr. David Engelthaler, a  genomic epidemiologist, says the kraken is mostly mild.  

“Most cases stay in the upper respiratory tract and cause less severe illness. Now it could still be a bad cold and some people could have even worse outcomes, especially those with lower immune systems, but by and large it is a milder version," Engelthaler said.

Engelthaler says additional vaccine technologies will likely be needed to fight COVID-19 as it continues to evolve . 

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.