A New Corona variant could now cause a surprise

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The XBB.1.5 wave has reached the top. The numbers are dropping just in time for the start of spring, but a new variant is causing intensive care patients.

Coronavirus variant outbreak as an omicron subvariant and covid-19 infectious influenza background as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic medical health risk concept with disease cells as a 3D rendering

The highly contagious omicron variant XBB.1.5 has spread rapidly in Austria in recent weeks, dominating the infection scene with a share of more than 70 percent. But this means that the wave’s peak in the wastewater signal has been exceeded, writes molecular biologist Ulrich Elling on Twitter.

“Austria has left the XBB.1.5 peak behind and EG.1 (aka XBB.1.9.2.1) will also no longer provide a peak,” said the scientist from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).

The omicron subline EG.1 had spread unusually fast in the past three weeks. In the meantime, however, stagnation can be seen again.

Unlike the next variant XBB.1.16 – also called “Arcturus.” Three highly contagious and dangerous omicron subline cases have already been detected in Austria, which Elling says should definitely be monitored more closely: “It’s not XBB.1.5, but XBB.1.16 that seems to be leading to an increase in new infections in India.”

In South Asia, there was a 281 percent increase in case numbers and 17 percent more deaths in two weeks. Intensive care bed occupancy rates in Singapore are rising because of the variant, despite high vaccination coverage.

XBB.1.16 has yet another 140 percent growth advantage over the already highly contagious XBB.1.5 line due to additional mutations in the spike protein that make the variant far more virulent and more effective at knocking out the immune system.

Elling said this could still cause a nasty surprise before the summer.

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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