New Covid Strains Worry Experts

| Updated: October 27, 2022 12:32 pm

Is Covid-19 finally behind us? No, say the experts in India. Not when it comes to the new Covid-19 strains. According to reports, experts in India have cautioned against the new mutations on the block — BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 – that are leading to a surge in cases across the world.

What worries the scientific and medical community is that an immune-escape Covid-19 strain coupled with the natural spike in influenza and pneumonia cases during winters may lead to a rise in hospitalisations.

India recently reported new Covid-19 cases such as XBB (Omicron subvariant), and the BQ.1 variant. The neighbouring Maharashtra has reported BA.2.3.20 variant too. A new recombinant variant BXX too is being picked up by the Indian Sars-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (Insacog).

Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, Maharashtra, said that the state has detected 13 XBB variants and all of them are under home-isolation. “The saving grace is that so far there is no indication that these new sub-variants are leading to more severe disease. In Maharashtra seven laboratories are actively picking up new mutations, and we will keep our vigil,” he told Business Standard.

XBB is a recombinant lineage between two Omicron sub-lineages — BJ.1 and BA.2.75. It is a fast-spreading variant, and is said to be behind the recent spike in Singapore.

The Maharashtra health department said the XBB, has a growth advantage over BA.2.75 and evasive immune properties. Kerala has reported XBB cases.

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