Kraken, the nickname for the XBB.1.5 SarsCoV-2 variant, is spreading fast across the globe and has already been detected in 29 countries. Despite the World Health Organization’s concern over the variation, Indian doctors do not now see any cause for fear.
“Truly there is no way we can guess the severity from communicability,” says Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, epidemiologist at CMC Vellore and member of the working group of the National Technical Advisory Group. “For that, we need to see information on hospitalisation and case fatality.”
The BA.2.75 and BA.2.10.1 are combined to create the XBB.1.5 variant. It comes from the Omicron XBB variant. Like all XBB variants, XBB.1.5 has also spread rapidly. According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kraken variant now accounts for about 41% of all Covid infections, up from just 1% of COVID-19 cases in the US in December 2022.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Covid technical lead, has branded it “the most transmissible sub-variant found yet.” The quick-spreading variant, according to experts, may have an influence on healthcare systems.
Experts from around the world have noted that this specific sub-variant has a considerably better affinity to a crucial receptor ACE2, allowing it to connect to human or host cells more easily and making it highly transmissible.
According to senior virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang, it appeared to be more contagious in the US but not spreading as quickly elsewhere. As of yet, there hasn’t been any change in the disease’s severity of that is brought on by this specific variant.
Typically, a WHO expert group names the COVID-19 variants that are of concern over the world. Alpha, beta, delta, and other letters of the Greek alphabet are used as the names. For one year, Omicron has been the predominant COVID-19 variant. It has a number of sub-lineages that are a combination of alphabets and numerals known as “Pango.” One such name is XBB.1.5.
An evolutionary professor suggested the name Kraken 5 on Twitter to compare the might of the new strain to the legendary sea monster. It’s possible that these new sub-variants of Omicron were given informal names due to the difficulty of the Pango lineage names.