Variant XBB.1.5 of the Covid: coming from the United States, a threat?

Variant XBB15 of the Covid coming from the United States

While France has its eyes riveted on the explosion of Covid cases in China, a new, more discreet variant for the time being is rapidly spreading in the United States, XBB.1.5.

The year 2023 risks being marked by the spread of the new – and umpteenth – variant, coming from the United States. The guilty ? The sub-lineage of Omicron variant, the XBB.1.5. In France, the majority variant remains for the moment the BQ.1.1 variant. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, XBB.1.5. was the majority in an eastern part of the American continent, the rest of the country being still more affected by the BQ.1.1 variant, according to the official compilation of American data on the Covid, the CDC. The organization specifies however that on December 31 this new sub-variant of Omicron represented a little more than 40% of the contaminations. This new variant is said to be recombinant, which means that it comes from an association of previous variants. Thus, the BJ.1 and BM.1.1.1 sub-lines generated the XBB variant, which therefore mutated generating the XBB.1.5 variant.

Nicknamed “Kraken” on Twitter by Canadian biologist T. Ryan Gregory, many American specialists have expressed concern about its rapid spread. “For a few months, we have not seen a variant that exploded at this speed”, was able to declare the specialist Pavitra Roychoudhury on CNN.

Increased contagiousness?

Although currently information remains uncertain about the nature of the symptoms, this new subvariant XBB.1.5 would more easily infect people who already have immunity, i.e. those who have already been infected or who have been vaccinated“, developed on LCI epidemiologist Mircea Sofonea. On Twitterspecialist T. Ryan Gregory shared that according to the first results, “hospitalizations are increasing rapidly in places where the wave of XBB.1.5 is surging, especially in New York State. However, it remains to be seen what the gravity of a wave XBB.1.5 “he qualified by adding that it was too early to determine its virulence.

The XBB.1.5 variant already in France

As specified The Parisian, this variant is already circulating in France but in a very small proportion, 15 cases have been identified since January 2, 2023. As for the extent it will take in France, “it’s quite difficult to predict” indicated to the daily newspaper Étienne Simon-Lorière, member of the Institut Pasteur. It will take a sufficient number of successful introductions for the virus so that it has the opportunity to compete with the diversity of lineages already present,” he also reported.