Experts reassuring over new subvariant

Experts reassuring over new subvariant

Greek experts appear reassuring that the XBB.1.5 subvariant of Covid-19 that seems to be prevailing in the United States will not necessarily spread to Europe as fast.

But even if it does, it is not expected to inspire particular concern. XBB.1.5, which has become known as the “Kraken” after the sea monster of Norse mythology, is a new subvariant of Omicron and, according to the World Health Organization, appears to have an advantage in transmission over another Omicron subvariant that preceded it in the US, at the end of December.

There is currently no evidence that it causes more severe disease. The new subtype has also been identified in European countries. It has not yet been identified in Greece, even though it is not being ruled out it has already arrived.

In comments to Kathimerini, the vice president of the National Public Health Organization (EODY), Dimitris Paraskevis, said that Omicron is developing dozens of new subvariants and that this evolution is normal.

“The likelihood of a new surge of Covid-19 depends mainly on the levels of immunity in the community and when it was acquired, coupled with any potential advantages a new variant may have in spreading more rapidly,” he said, noting that in Greece, a large part of the population became ill in the summer, “so we would expect immunity to have weakened.”

“Thus, a more contagious strain of SARS-CoV-2 could cause a spike in Covid-19, but we should be aware that SARS-CoV-2 is no longer a new pathogen and we have ways of dealing with it,” he added. 

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