New COVID Variant XBB 1.5 ‘most transmissible’ yet detected, senior WHO official warns: According to the World Health Organization, Omicron’s most infectious strain to date is a novel subvariant known as XBB.1.5.
As COVID-19 hospitalizations soar in parts of the Northeast — where the subvariant makes up about 75% of new covid-19 cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — there is concern that a potential surge following How to Downsize Large Holiday Gatherings.
It has been established that a sub-variant of Omicron, which is the variety in question, is spreading to 25 countries including the US and the UK.
At a news briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for COVID-19 for the WHO, said: “This is the most infectious subvariant identified so far.
“This is due to changes present in this subtype of omicron, which enable the virus to attach to cells and multiply more easily.
The statement said, “And we are concerned about its growth advantage, particularly in many nations in Europe and North America, particularly in the Northeast portion of the US where XBB.1.5 has fast displaced other circulating versions.
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Little is known about this new subvariant, but some preliminary research indicates that it may be more immune evasive and infectious than previous Omicron variants.
Researchers are still studying how well the vaccine will hold up against XBB.1.5. They Say the Updated Bivalent Booster Shot Is the Best Way to Protect Yourself.
More than 40% of COVID-19 cases in the US are now caused by XBB.1.5, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Friday, with the subvariant doubling from last week.
The XBB variant is also driving up cases in parts of Asia, including Singapore.
Dr. Van Kerkhove said there was no evidence yet to suggest that the variant caused more severe disease, but the more the new strain circulates, the more likely it is to change.
It came as the WHO said China’s COVID-19 data was not giving an accurate picture of the situation there and was underreporting hospitalizations and deaths from the disease.
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