COVID-19 subvariant XBB.1.5, a new variant of the Omicron variant, is spreading across the United States amid the travel season and first day of winter.
Why is this subvariant important? Related cases have almost doubled compared to last week Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The reason which raised fears that more cases could emerge across the country.
What do we know about the XBB.1.5 subvariant of COVID-19?
According to CDC estimates, the XBB.1.5 strain is responsible for 40.5 percent of confirmed cases in the United States during the week ending December 31. Means reported this week 20 percent more cases than the cases that ended on 24 December.
The XBB.1.5 variant alone accounts for nearly 75 per cent of confirmed cases in the Northeast, which includes New England, New Jersey and New YorkThe CDC estimates.
“We anticipate that this will be the dominant form in the Northeast region of the country and that it will increase in all regions of the country,” said Barbara Mahon, director of the CDC proposal.
In addition, experts have become increasingly concerned about the XBB.1.5 and XBB variants, recombinants of the BA.2 subvariant, after appearing in several Asian countries in recent weeks.
For this reason, experts say that this subvariant is spreading as China is currently witnessing a huge increase in cases, as well as escaping the protection provided by the coronavirus vaccines.
“The irony is that the worst variant the world is facing right now is actually XBB,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota.
they even claim XBB.1.5 differs from XBB in that it can stick to cells better: “The virus needs to bind tightly to cells to be more efficient, and this may help the virus to be a little more efficient at infecting people.” said Andrew Pekoz, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University.
What do we not know about the XBB.1.5 subvariant of COVID-19?
- It is unclear where the Omicron variant version originated, but it is spreading rapidly.
- We also do not know how fast and how far it will spread.
- It’s also unclear whether there are any specific symptoms associated with the new variant, but John Moore, professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said he expects cases to peak in mid-January.