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Business News/ News / India/  India saw ‘281% increase in COVID cases’ in just 14 days since XBB 1.16 variant was detected

The new COVID variant XBB.1.16 is causing much concern among experts as they cited that India saw a ‘281% increase in COVID cases’ in just 14 days since the new variant has been spotted.

The new strain has been found in 12 countries and is rapidly spreading in India, the US, Brunei, and Singapore.

Vipin M Vashishtha, former convenor of Indian Academy of Pediatrics and consultant pediatrician at the Mangla Hospital and Research Centre, Bijnor, pointed out, XBB.1.16 has a 140% growth advantage over XBB.1.5, making it more aggressive

“The variant has three additional spike mutations, E180V, K478R, and S486P, which have been identified by recent briefing," he said adding, They didn’t mention that XBB.1.16 also has ORF9b:I5T and ORF9b:N55S mutations.


It is crucial to closely monitor the situation and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

"All eyes should be on India! If XBB.1.16 aka #Arcturus could succeed to wade through the 'sturdy' population immunity of Indians that successfully resisted the onslaught of variants like BA.2.75, BA.5, BQs, XBB.1.5, then whole world must be seriously worried!!" he added

Though XBB.1.16 is capable of turning off both innate & adaptive responses, I wud be surprised if it cud generate a major surge here. All will depend on how well population immunity would resist this at the backdrops of differentially imprinted immunity & its waning overtime!, he said in another tweet.

So far, as many as 76 samples of COVID-19's XBB.1.16 variant have been found. According to INSACOG data, the variant has been found across Karnataka (30), Maharashtra (29), Puducherry (7) Delhi (5), Telangana (2), Gujarat (1), Himachal Pradesh (1) and Odisha (1), the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) data showed.

What are the common symptoms of the new COVID variant?

As of now, there is little to no difference between the symptoms of Covid XBB 1.16 and XBB 1.15. The symptoms of this variant include fever, sore throat, cold, headache, body aches, and fatigue. It also might impact your digestive system and respiratory system.

India's single-day tally of COVID-19 cases crossed 800 after 126 days on Saturday, while the number of active cases climbed to 5,389.

Sanchari Ghosh
Sanchari Ghosh is a Chief Content Producer with LiveMint. She covers news, human interest, epidemiology and personal finance stories
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Updated: 18 Mar 2023, 04:57 PM IST
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