The XBB.1.5 variant, which is in the majority in the USA, is gaining ground in Europe
The Covid-19 crisis with the highly contagious Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant, which is spreading rapidly in COVID-19 cases in the United States, is expected to become dominant in Europe within a month or two, the European outbreak agency estimated Friday, Jan. 13.
Covid 19 is still present through its XBB.1.5 variant, which was first detected in the United States in October and is the most contagious vector of the new coronavirus to date, poses a “low risk to the general population,” according to the latest assessment published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
However, the risk is “moderate to high” for “vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, unvaccinated or immunocompromised”, according to the Stockholm-based European agency. For ECDC, “many grey areas exist with XBB.1.5 and this assessment may change in the coming weeks”.
The variant, XBB.1.5S, accounts for more than 30% of infections in the U.S., XBB.1.5 was still responsible for only 2.5% of COVID-19 cases in the final weeks of 2022, according to ECDC.
“ECDC’s mathematical models indicate that XBB1.5 could become dominant in the European Union (…) within one to two months, due to the low number of cases currently reported” on the continent “and its rate of progression.”
The European Epidemic Agency said, “there is currently no evidence that the severity of the XBB.1.5 infection is different from that of other Omicron sublineages.
There are 38 countries that have reported cases of XBB.1.5, including 82% in the United States, 8% in the United Kingdom and 2% in Denmark, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday.
It has a similarity to its predecessor XBB.1, but has an additional mutation in its spike protein, the virus’ notorious entry key, virologists said.