New Covid variant XBB hits 18 UK cases – all you need to know about the deadly ‘nightmare’ strain

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Chronicle Live

Chronicle Live

by Adam May & Aaron Morris – 

The XBB strain may be a factor in the recent spike in cases because it spreads quickly and appears to evade people’s vaccine protection © PA

A new strain of Covid-19 dubbed the ‘nightmare’ variant has reached 18 known cases in the UK – with scientists and experts urging residents to stay up to date with eligible vaccines.

The warning comes after cases of the XBB strain were detected across Great Britain, out of a global total of 1,086,639 samples uploaded from Singapore.

It is thought the mutated variant may be a slight factor in the recent spike of Coronavirus cases, as it spreads at a rapid pace and appears to evade vaccine immunity.

Read more: The rules on going to work or staying home if you test positive for Covid-19

The Mirror reports that while the XBB strain has not been designated as a variant of concern just yet, experts are monitoring the situation closely. It comes as one of two new strains of the global virus which have entered the UK, with the second being the new BQ.1 variant.

There have been more than 700 cases of the latter logged in the UK to date.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infection at the UK Health Standards Agency (UKHSA), said: “It is not unexpected to see new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge. Neither BQ.1 nor XBB have been designated as variants of concern and UKHSA is monitoring the situation closely, as always.

Related video: XBB strain detected in 17 countries: Is there a need for variant-specific booster vaccines?

XBB strain detected in 17 countries: Is there a need for variant-specific booster vaccines?

View on Watch

“Vaccination remains our best defence against future Covid-19 waves, so it is still as important as ever that people come take up all the doses for which they are eligible as soon as possible.”

XBB was initially discovered in India back in August, since being located in Bangladesh, Japan, Singapore, and at least 13 other countries – including Denmark and Australia. It has also been detected in Hong Kong.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health said that XBB went from being responsible for some 22 percent of Covid-19 cases to 54 percent in the space of a week. Almost 80 percent of those in Singapore are also fully vaccinated.

While Singapore’s health ministry says that there is no evidence that XBB causes more severe illness, it appears to be resistant to treatments. Ong Ye Kung, said that the country is in turn likely to see 15,000 daily cases on average by mid-November.

Infectious disease expert John Swartzberg previously told the San Francisco Chronicle : “We are seeing a slew of new variants that are using a similar approach to survive — they are finding ways to evade the way we get immunity from vaccines and previous infection with changes on the spike protein.

“XBB is no different from the others.”

XBB is a mutation on Omicron BA.2. 23 cases of XBB have been detected in the USA. Natalie Thornburg, CDC lead respiratory virus immunology specialist said: “XBB is a chimera. I think there have been a couple of sequences identified in the United States.

“But it’s way, way, way, way below that one percent threshold. I mean, it’s really like a handful of sequences.”

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Chronicle Live

Chronicle Live

by Adam May & Aaron Morris – 

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The XBB strain may be a factor in the recent spike in cases because it spreads quickly and appears to evade people’s vaccine protection © PA

A new strain of Covid-19 dubbed the ‘nightmare’ variant has reached 18 known cases in the UK – with scientists and experts urging residents to stay up to date with eligible vaccines.

The warning comes after cases of the XBB strain were detected across Great Britain, out of a global total of 1,086,639 samples uploaded from Singapore.

It is thought the mutated variant may be a slight factor in the recent spike of Coronavirus cases, as it spreads at a rapid pace and appears to evade vaccine immunity.

Read more: The rules on going to work or staying home if you test positive for Covid-19

The Mirror reports that while the XBB strain has not been designated as a variant of concern just yet, experts are monitoring the situation closely. It comes as one of two new strains of the global virus which have entered the UK, with the second being the new BQ.1 variant.

There have been more than 700 cases of the latter logged in the UK to date.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infection at the UK Health Standards Agency (UKHSA), said: “It is not unexpected to see new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge. Neither BQ.1 nor XBB have been designated as variants of concern and UKHSA is monitoring the situation closely, as always.

Related video: XBB strain detected in 17 countries: Is there a need for variant-specific booster vaccines?

XBB strain detected in 17 countries: Is there a need for variant-specific booster vaccines?

View on Watch

“Vaccination remains our best defence against future Covid-19 waves, so it is still as important as ever that people come take up all the doses for which they are eligible as soon as possible.”

XBB was initially discovered in India back in August, since being located in Bangladesh, Japan, Singapore, and at least 13 other countries – including Denmark and Australia. It has also been detected in Hong Kong.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health said that XBB went from being responsible for some 22 percent of Covid-19 cases to 54 percent in the space of a week. Almost 80 percent of those in Singapore are also fully vaccinated.

While Singapore’s health ministry says that there is no evidence that XBB causes more severe illness, it appears to be resistant to treatments. Ong Ye Kung, said that the country is in turn likely to see 15,000 daily cases on average by mid-November.

Infectious disease expert John Swartzberg previously told the San Francisco Chronicle : “We are seeing a slew of new variants that are using a similar approach to survive — they are finding ways to evade the way we get immunity from vaccines and previous infection with changes on the spike protein.

“XBB is no different from the others.”

XBB is a mutation on Omicron BA.2. 23 cases of XBB have been detected in the USA. Natalie Thornburg, CDC lead respiratory virus immunology specialist said: “XBB is a chimera. I think there have been a couple of sequences identified in the United States.

“But it’s way, way, way, way below that one percent threshold. I mean, it’s really like a handful of sequences.”

Read next: