New Corona wave – these countries should expect it

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The omicron subline XBB.1.16 is causing a sharp increase in the incidence of infection in India. The first samples have also appeared in this country.

Recently, reports from India, in particular, have caused a stir, where the Corona variant known as Arcturus, XBB.1.16, has caused an explosion in Covid 19 incidences. The latest omicron subline of coronavirus has numerous mutations also found in its sister variant XBB.1.5. However, other key mutations within the spike protein are crucial for infecting a human with the virus: E180V, K478R and S486P.

Moreover, experts say the subline will likely have additional mechanisms that block the body’s immune response, leading to more infections. Specifically, the ORF9b mutations can suppress interferon release, thus undermining the immune defences of vaccinated and recovered individuals.

In Austria, XBB.1.16 has rarely been documented. As of March 16, 2023, there have been six detections, as molecular biologist Ulrich Elling writes in his weekly report on Twitter. “With two more cases of XBB.1.16.1 detected this week, the current total for Austria has risen to one case of XBB.1.16 and five cases of XBB.1.16.1.”

He said it is too early to say more about the spread of the new variant. However, the scientist from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) has noticed something particular about XBB.1.16: “Countries where XBB.1.16 waves are currently occurring did not have an outstanding XBB.1.5 wave.” These include India, but also Singapore.

Since the peak of the XBB.1.5 wave has just been passed in Austria and the – currently briefly pausing – spring plays into our cards, it would be conceivable that XBB.1.16 will not play a major role in this country. After all, all Corona figures, from new infections to hospitalizations to the occupancy of intensive care units, are declining.

  • source: heute.at/picture:
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