The XBB.1.5 or kraken subvariant is the most contagious so far, should we worry?

From the World Health Organization (WHO) have reported that the XBB.1.5new subvariant of omicron, also known as kraken, is the most easily transmitted of all those that have been detected so far. But why does it spread so quickly? As explained Mary Van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist, this circumstance occurs because the mutations it contains adhere more closely to the cells of the affected people and, therefore, replicate more easily afterwards. Therefore, having a superior capacity to enter cells, it becomes more infectious.

Do you come from China?

XBB.1.5 is known to be a recombination of the sublinajes BA2its embargo kraken does not come from china, as one might think at first in view of the latest information from this country regarding the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the USA assure that the XBB.1.5 variant has contributed to the increase in infections during the last four weeks in this country. Thus, as of December 31, the new variant represented 18.3% of the cases, while it was responsible for 27.6% of the new infections at the end of the first week of January (January 7), reports Reuters.

XBB.1.5 is known to be a recombination of the BA2 sublineages, however kraken does not originate from China.

Regarding the specific origin of this variant, it is thought to be NY y Connecticutwhere it was detected for the first time during the month of October 2022, report from GISAID, an international initiative to share genomic data of the influenza virus and the SARS-CoV-2.

In addition to being detected in the United States, it has also been found in Europe, in more than 25 countries.

Is it more serious?

The WHO assures that at the moment it is unknown if it is more serious than other variants or what its clinical picture is, but what they have affirmed is that to date does not appear to be “more detrimental”. However, the fact of being more transmissible is in itself a characteristic to take into account.

“We expect more waves of infection around the world, but that does not have to translate into more deaths because vaccines and Treatments that currently exist continue to work,” Van Kerkhove clarified.

“We expect more waves of infection around the world, but that doesn’t have to translate into more deaths.”

Regarding the greater number of hospitalizations that have been experienced in the northwestern United States, the WHO assures that they cannot be attributed exclusively to this variant since there are other respiratory viruses in circulation that are favoring this circumstance.

Should we worry?

Nor does it imply a new crisis in the pandemic, since the appearance of new variants is something that will always happen as long as the virus continues to spread. XBB.1.5 will be a new global variant, but it is not yet clear if it will cause a new wave of infections exclusively associated with it. The current vaccines continue to protect against serious symptoms, hospitalization and death, experts have qualified.

Current vaccines continue to protect against severe symptoms, hospitalization and death, experts have qualified.

“There is no reason to think that XBB.1.5 is more worrisome than other variants that come and go in an ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 mutations”said the professor Andrew Pollarddirector of the Oxford Vaccine Group research group.

To this day from Technical Committee on the Evolution of the OM VirusS is evaluating the progress of this subvariant as well as the evolution of infections in China since it left its “Covid zero” policy in December last year. The situation is “complex” but it is monitoring closely any possible changes in the severity of the subvariant with the help of laboratory studies and global data.

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