The highly transmissible omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 threatens to generate a global increase in coronavirus cases, according to a new fast risk assessment by the World Health Organization.
As per US News, in its evaluation, the organization stated, “Based on its genetic traits and early growth rate estimations, XBB.1.5 may contribute to global increases in case occurrence.” However, it highlighted that only U.S. estimates of growth advantage are available. Therefore, it evaluated its confidence in the assessment as “poor.”
WHO stated that there is no available data on the severity of XBB.1.5 but that it “does not carry any known mutation associated with a potential change in severity.”
WHO claimed that there is no real-world evidence on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccinations against the strain, which is just as immunological evasive as XBB.1, the omicron subvariant with the “greatest immune escape to date.”
The emergence of XBB.1.5 in the United States coincides with a rise in COVID-19 cases. Last week, the strain was responsible for approximately 28 percent of coronavirus illnesses.
In the previous week, 18% of instances were reported. It is the only omicron subvariant that is growing in the United States. WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove stated regarding XBB.1.5 at a press event last week, “It is the most transmissible subvariant discovered so far.”
According to the World Health Organization’s weekly COVID-19 report, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths declined significantly last week. However, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated at a press event on Wednesday that last week’s death toll is “very probably an underestimate due to the underreporting of COVID-related deaths in China.”
China is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, but WHO and others have had difficulty obtaining sufficient data from the country to estimate the wave’s full scope. WHO’s Mike stated during a press conference on Wednesday that the U.N. body “continues to feel that deaths are grossly underreported in China.”
Ryan stated, “We still lack sufficient information to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment, so we will continue to encourage access to that data,” noting that some progress had been made.