WHO questions severity of XBB.1.5 COVID subvariant as U.S. cases rise


Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 remains to be gaining floor inside the United States, accounting for at the least 43% of sequenced cases from the final week, in response to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The large image: The XBB.1.5 COVID subvariant — nicknamed the “Kraken” variant — is representing an increasing number of cases, and specialists are questioning the variant’s severity as real-world knowledge emerges.

XBB 1.5 cases subvariant rise

Details: The XBB 1.5 variant accounted for 43% of sequenced cases for the week ending Jan. 14 — up from 30.4% the week earlier than, in response to the CDC’s estimates.

  • New York City well being officers stated the subvariant now accounts for near 73% of cases sequenced in New York, per NBC New York.
  • Hawaii’s Department of Health stated the subvariant was lately found in wastewater, Hawaii News Now experiences.
  • Houston well being officers stated XBB.1.5 is probably going accounting for the town’s rise in COVID-19 cases, too.

Flashback: The CDC stated on the finish of December that the XBB.1.5 pressure was answerable for 40.5% of confirmed U.S. cases for the week ending on Dec. 31, 2022, Axios reported.

  • But one week later, the CDC’s estimates modified to replicate that the XBB.1.5 variant made up 18.3% of cases for the week ending on Dec. 31, 2022, and 27.6% of sequenced cases for the week ending on Jan. 7.
XBB 1.5 variant: Severity and signs

Details: The World Health Organization stated in a danger evaluation earlier this week that the omicron XBB.1.5 variant — which it known as one of the “the most antibody-resistant variants” — doesn’t have any mutations that make individuals sicker in comparison with earlier variants.

  • But the WHO stated it doesn’t have any real-world knowledge on how the variant is definitely affecting individuals, so the complete severity of the variant and its signs can’t be absolutely decided, CNBC experiences.

What they’re saying: Dr. Ashish Jha, head of the White House COVID Task Force, stated earlier this week that “your safety in opposition to an XBB.1.5. an infection isn’t that nice” in case you had a COVID-19 an infection earlier than July 2022 or your final vaccine was earlier than the latest bivalent replace in September.

  • “We will soon have more data on how well vaccines neutralize XBB.1.5,” Jha tweeted. “But proper now, for folk with no very latest an infection or a bivalent vaccine, you doubtless have little or no safety in opposition to an infection.”

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