India’s case tally of new Omicron variant XBB.1.5 reaches five — Here’s what you need to know
- The latest data from
INSACOGreveals that three samples from Gujarat and one each from Karnataka and Rajasthan tested positive for the new XBB.1.5 variant.
- An official said that all three patients who tested positive in Gujarat recovered within a few days of quarantine.
- XBB’s descendant variant
XBB.1.5 is said to have a higher transmission rate compared to other variants, as per experts.
AdvertisementOmicron’s sub-variant XBB.1.5 has officially entered India and its tally has gone up to five cases till now. Gujarat reported the first case on December 31, according to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).
The latest data from INSACOG reveals that three samples from Gujarat and one each from Karnataka and Rajasthan tested positive for the new XBB.1.5 variant. This variant of Omicron is also behind the surge in Covid cases and hospitalisations in the US, accounting for 3.6% of the total cases reported last week.
“So far, nothing unusual has been reported in the five patients infected with XBB.1.5 though we are currently assessing the clinical data. Many mutations are being reported in Omicron, but as of now, there is no indication that these newer sub-variants will cause something adverse in India,” according to INSACOG officials.
Another official from the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) told the Times of India that all three patients who tested positive in Gujarat recovered within a few days of quarantine.
XBB is a recombinant of two BA.2 sub-lineages of Omicron. According to the
However, XBB’s descendant variant XBB.1.5 is said to have a higher transmission rate than other variants, as per US scientist Eric Topol.
I reviewed all we know about the XBB.1.5 variant 10 days ago, w/its high transmissibilityhttps://t.co/mnaA3kemLpT… https://t.co/wyovgkPJ9D— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) 1672706618000
Recap why #XBB15 (storming &) is a super variant:among most immunity-evasive ‘escape variants’ to dateon… https://t.co/0bOHjVsdva— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) 1672526789000
Vaccines and precautions
XBB variant is already driving up Covid cases in many parts of Asia including India. It is currently the dominant variant and circulating all over the country, according to INSACOG.
India's active caseload currently stands at 2,582, with 134 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, as per Union Health Ministry data.
“Reports have shown that these sub-variants are causing more re-infection rather than a high severity,” Dr Aditya S Chowti, senior consultant - internal medicine, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore, told Business Insider India.
The XBB variant, which is already spreading in the country, may trigger a new wave in the country. “XBB is very immune-evasive, which means it can overcome the antibodies. So, we may see another wave of infections in some countries because of XBB,” Dr Laxman Jessani, consultant, infectious disease, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai told Business Insider India.
The available vaccines in the market for Covid-19 are found to be ‘partially effective’, Dr Jessani said. “It’s important to know that vaccines protect against the worst cases of Covid-19 and the latest booster is expected to be effective against these variants. Unvaccinated people, as well as those who are elderly or immunocompromised, remain at highest risk,” Dr Jessani added.
India has so far administered 220 crore Covid-19 doses including first, second and booster shots. Amid a sudden surge in cases, doctors of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) suggested the government must approve a fourth Covid shot, which would be the second booster dose, if approved.
However, government sources said on Tuesday, that no second booster dose was currently required, adding, “First we have to complete the booster drive in the country."
As cases are witnessing a massive surge in various parts of the world, the Indian government has also mandated the submission of RT-PCR reports for all overseas travellers coming from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. The government also made it compulsory for travellers to upload their health status from January 1, 2023 on its Air Suvidha website.
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