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Business News/ News / India/  Amid Covid surge in India, study shows XBB.1.16 Omicron variant has higher effective reproductive number
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Amid Covid surge in India, study shows XBB.1.16 Omicron variant has higher effective reproductive number

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

Scientists have said that the XBB.1.16 variant of coronavirus is responsible for the current surge in cases. (PTI)Premium
Scientists have said that the XBB.1.16 variant of coronavirus is responsible for the current surge in cases. (PTI)

A latest preprint new study shows XBB.1.16 Omicron variant, which is behind the COVID surge in India will also spread worldwide in the near future, has an effective reproductive number (Re) 1.27 and 1.17-fold higher respectively than XBB.1 and XBB.1.5.

As per the study, “At the end of March 2023, XBB.1.16, a SARS-CoV-2 omicron XBB subvariant, emerged and was detected in various countries. Compared to XBB.1.5, XBB.1.16 has two substitutions in the S protein: E180V is in the N-terminal domain, and T478K in the receptor-binding domain (RBD)."

"We first show that XBB.1.16 had an effective reproductive number (Re) that was 1.27- and 1.17-fold higher than the parental XBB.1 and XBB.1.5, respectively, suggesting that XBB.1.16 will spread worldwide in the near future," it stated.

It further added, “In fact, the WHO classified XBB.1.16 as a variant under monitoring on March 30, 2023. Neutralization assays demonstrated the robust resistance of XBB.1.16 to breakthrough infection sera of BA.2 (18-fold versus B.1.1) and BA.5 (37-fold versus B.1.1). We then used six clinically-available monoclonal antibodies and showed that only sotrovimab exhibits antiviral activity against XBB subvariants, including XBB.1.16. Our results suggest that, similar to XBB.1 and XBB.1.5, XBB.1.16 is robustly resistant to a variety of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies."

"Our multiscale investigations suggest that XBB.1.16 that XBB.1.16 has a greater growth advantage in the human population compared to XBB.1 and XBB.1.5, while the ability of XBB.1.16 to exhibit profound immune evasion is comparable to XBB.1 and XBB.1.5." it said.

Earlier, Vipin M Vashishtha. former convenor of Indian Academy of Pediatrics and consultant pediatrician at the Mangla Hospital and Research Centre, Bijnor also pointed out that XBB.1.16 has a 140 percent growth advantage over XBB.1.5, making it more aggressive. In a tweet, he stated, in India, there is a 281 percent increase in cases 17 percent increase in deaths over the past 14 days.

World Health Organization has also said that the new variant is ‘one to watch’. Further, noting that the variant needs close monitoring, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead asserted ‘we are very concerned about the potential of the virus to change to become more severe’

On 7 April, Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya who chaired a review meeting with health ministers of all states and Union Territories through video conferencing asked all states to stay alert and remain prepared for the management of the disease.

Mandaviya further urged the State Health Ministers to conduct mock drills of all hospital infrastructure on April 10 and 11 and review the health preparedness with district administrations and health officials on April 8 and 9.

Amid rising cases, many states has made it mandatory to make use of masks in public places.

Speaking of the Covid tally, as many 6,050 fresh Covid-19 infections were recorded in the country in the last 24 hours, marking a significant jump from Thursday's tally of 5,335 cases, the Union health ministry said. Covid cases in the country have seen an upward trend in the past few days, with the daily fresh infections at 2,994 on April 1, 3,824 on April 2, 3,641 on April 3 and 3,038 on April 4 and 4,435 on April 5.

What are the latest symptoms of COVID?.

Hospitals have once again started getting pediatric Covid cases after a gap of 6 months. Some of the top symptoms include high fever, cold and cough, and non-purulent, cited Vipin M Vashishtha, former convenor of Indian Academy of Pediatrics and consultant paediatrician at the Mangla Hospital and Research Centre, Bijnor. He also mentioned that many are reporting itchy conjunctivitis and sticky eyes, a symptom that was not seen in earlier waves.

(With inputs from ANI)

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Updated: 08 Apr 2023, 05:45 AM IST
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