India has confirmed its first case of Omicron’s XBB.1.5 in Gujarat this December, Insacog data showed. With the detection of the first XBB.1.5 case closer home, Maharashtra state public health authorities are now focused on not allowing the sub-variant to enter the state due to its proximity to Gujarat.
XBB.1.5 is a sub-variant that international scientists have flagged for being responsible for a surge in Covid cases and hospitalisations in New York. XBB itself is a recombinant of two different BA.2 sub-variants of Omicron. But its descendant, XBB.1.5, is believed to have a tighter bind to the ACE2 receptor, which would explain its higher level of transmissibility, according to US scientist Eric Topol.
Maharashtra is carrying out 100 percent genomic sequencing, while international arrivals are also undergoing thermal screening and random sampling of 2 percent of these is also being done. Positive samples are then being sent for genome sequencing.
There are more than 275 cases of XBB in Maharashtra. But XBB.1.5 is another offshoot and little is known about its transmissibility. It has not been detected in the state so far.
XBB has greater immune evasiveness than others and it is adding more mutations like XBB.1.5.
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