According to scientists on Tuesday, a new strain of Omicron XBB.1.5 has caused alarm in several nations, including India, where cases of it have been documented. It has the potential to infect even those who have had vaccinations. The National IMA Covid task force’s co-chairman, Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, claims that XBB.1.5 is an improved variant of XBB, a recombinant sub-lineage of Omicron that was discovered a few months ago in several nations, including Singapore and afterwards in India.
“XBB.1.5 has a greater ability to attach itself to the human ACE-2 receptor while retaining the outstanding immune evasiveness of its ancestor,” he said. Dr. Jayadevan went on to say that this variety can infect people who have already had an illness or have even received vaccinations.
“Immune evasiveness is the ability of the virus to infect people who had prior infection or vaccination or both. XBB.1.5 achieved this by creating a rare type of mutation called F486P, located in its RBD (receptor binding domain). It is not known whether it causes more severe diseases. Experts believe it is unlikely to do so,” the expert said.
He said that further research is necessary to determine whether the virus’s continuous genetic mutations also give rise to more serious diseases. “The latest genomic surveillance data from India show XBB accounts for 20 per cent, while the older variant BA.2.75 is still dominant. This landscape could change,” he said.
When asked about the number of XBB.1.5 cases reported worldwide, Dr. Pragya Yadav, Senior Scientist, NIV-Pune, ICMR, tweeted, “The USA has the highest count while India has 1 case which was reported on December 24, 2022, from Gujarat. Country XBB.1.5: Netherlands 10, Denmark 8, Switzerland 6, Australia 5, Austria 4, United States 1357, Canada 24, France 15, Israel 13, Canada 24, France 15, and the United Kingdom 3.