Tuesday, May 30, 2023

XBB.1.16 is ‘one to watch’, WHO

With COVID XBB.1.16 triggering a recent infection spike, World Health Organization said that the new variant is ‘one to watch’.
Further, noting that the variant needs close monitoring, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead asserted ‘we are very concerned about the potential of the virus to change to become more severe’.
Kerkhove has also shown concerns about the recent spike in India. “In India, XBB.1.16 has replaced the other variants that are in circulation,” Kerkhove said. “So this is one to watch.” So far, the variant has been reported in 22 countries.
Kerkhove pointed out, the subvariant has been circulating for a few months, and it doesn’t appear to cause more severe disease.
“We haven’t seen a change in severity in individuals or in populations, but that’s why we have these systems in place,” she said. “Systems to track the virus variants, global collaborations to assess transmissibility, immune escape, severity and the impact of any of our interventions including diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.”
However, “One of the things we are very concerned about is the potential for the virus to change to become not only more transmissible but more severe,” Van Kerkhove said. “So we have to remain vigilant,” she added.


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