COVID XBB 1.16 variant likely behind the surge of Covid cases in India
The new recombinant variant XBB1.16 of SARS-CoV-2 is believed to be responsible for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India, according to scientists.
For the past few days, the Covid positivity rate increased in many states in India. The new variant of Covid-19 is reportedly believed to have originated in Maharashtra. Later on, the new variant has also been reported in Telangana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and other states in India. It has also been reported in countries like China, Singapore and the United States.
The variant XBB1.16 of SARS-CoV-2 has also coincided with the rise of the seasonal H3N2 influenza in India. On Wednesday, 155 cases of Covid-19 were reported in Maharashtra and 54 cases were reported in Telangana.
According to scientists, XBB 1.16 and XBB 1.15 have descended from the recombinant ancestor XBB variant of COVID-19. According to an international platform tracking Covid variants, around 48 cases of variant XBB1.16 of SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in India, which is the highest number in the world. Singapore and the United States reported 14 and 15 cases, respectively.
According to a top genome expert, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra reported the highest number of Covid cases in India. Dr Vipin M Vashishtha, a member of WHO’s Vaccine Safety Net, told the Times of India, “There is some worry about XBB.1.16 globally.”
On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry of India said that the country recorded 734 fresh Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also wrote a letter to the States and Union Territories to express concern about the gradual rise in Covid-19 test positivity rates in India.
According to experts, COVID XBB 1.16 variant could lead to a new Covid wave in the country. There is no difference between the symptoms of Covid XBB 1.16 and XBB 1.15.