A new COVID variant has emerged, should we be worried?

During the COVID pandemic, we have seen many strains multiply and branch off, and now a new variant called XBB is standing out as one of the most immune-evasive types of the virus thus far.

A new COVID variant has emerged, here is what you need to know
© Matt Anderson Photography
A new COVID variant has emerged, here is what you need to know

According to Fortune, the XBB strain is a combination of two differentomicron variants and has been gaining the attention of medical experts who claim that this strain is proving to be most elusive to our immune system antibodies.

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A small surge in parts of Asia

The XBB COVID-19 variant has been pushing a small surge in Singapore and Bangladesh.

With the former recording more than five thousand casesdaily as opposed to a daily average of around two thousand cases a month ago,

Singapore has a vaccination rate of 90% of its population with two doses, and 79% have received at least one booster jab, Fortune reports.

The Bangladeshi daily infection rate stands at approximately five hundred new cases, compared to a weekly average of three hundred cases last month, with at least 75.6% of the population vaccinated.

The XBB may be elusive but is also fuelling false rumours online

Medical experts suggest that the XBB strain stands out among new COVID variants, due to its ability to evade the defences of the human immune system.

A new COVID variant has emerged, here is what you need to know Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman

Eric Topol, the founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, says XBB is one of the most important COVID-19 strains to watch right now.

A new COVID variant has emerged, here is what you need to know

Despite the rise in XBB cases, Singapore’s Health Minister, Ong Ye Kung, said on Monday the country is not subject to a new Covid-19 wave, since only 15% of cases are reinfections, as opposed to a wave that would require at least 50% of reinfections, Fortune reports.

According to Channel News Asia, on Tuesday, The Ministry of Health in Singapore also addressed and dismissed online falsehoods surrounding the XBB variant spreading via the chatting platform Whatsapp.

‘There have been rumours circulating via WhatsApp that Singapore is having a rapid and large increase in cases with severe illness and deaths due to the circulating XBB strain, This is not true.’

The Ministry concluded that while there was a daily spike on Tuesday, cases remain relatively low, Channel News Asia reports.

Sources used:

-Fortune: ‘What is XBB? The new ‘immune-evasive’ COVID strain that combines Omicron variants is driving cases in two countries’

-Channel News Asia: ‘Rumours about large increase in severe COVID-19 cases and deaths due to XBB strain 'not true': MOH’

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