The head of the Ministry of Health (MINSAL), Francisco Alabi, reported this Monday that they soon hope to have the results of the study to determine which variants of SARS-CoV-2 caused the recent increase in covid-19 cases in El Salvador, but not ruled out that “Kraken” was responsible.
The omicron subvariant XBB1.15, nicknamed “Kraken” by the scientific community to facilitate communication with the public, was first identified in New York and Connecticut in late October. “It is the most transmissible subvariant that has been detected so far,” confirmed Maria Van Kerkhove, technical manager of the response to covid-19 of the World Health Organization (WHO), at a press conference offered on January 4. . It is estimated that a person infected with Kraken can cause 60% more infections than with other SARS-CoV-2 mutations.
Alabi affirmed today that XBB1.15 is responsible for 40% of the cases in the United States and recalled that the migratory flow with that country is high, since most of the diaspora resides there. Due to these conditions, the probability that Kraken is in Salvadoran territory is high and even he did not rule out that it has caused the recent wave of infections, which precisely began at the end of last October.
“If there was an affectation as a result of this subvariant, probably this increase in cases has already happened,” he said in the interview Face to Face, from the Salvadoran Telecorporation (TCS). “If the predominant variant that El Salvador has had has been one of the variants that has been generating complications internationally, and El Salvador is currently declining in cases, what does it mean? Most likely we will not be affected by the variants that are being produced internationally,” he said.
But this, he insisted, would only apply to XBB1.15. China is currently battling BF7, which is also more contagious than previous omicron sub-variants.
The MINSAL epidemiological bulletins indicate that between October 23 and December 17, 11,201 cases of covid-19 were confirmed, registering up to 3,469 infections in a single week. These reports indicate that the cases decreased considerably in the last weeks of December and yesterday, according to Alabi, they only reported 5 positive PCR tests and 3 antigen tests.
On the other hand, the official informed that soon they hope to offer the vaccine against omicron, although he considered that the effects would not be considerable in the long term because “the majority” of the population already has the complete primary scheme and the reinforcements.