The European Center for Disease Control has issued a note with the evaluation of the new subvariant. “For now on the general population the risk is assessed as low while the risk is moderate to high for vulnerable people such as the elderly and unvaccinated and immunocompromised people, depending on their immunity. There are currently no signs that the severity of XBB.1.5 infection is different from that of previously circulating Omicron subtypes.”
13 JAN –
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has assessed the overall level of risk to the EU associated with the spread of Omicron stress XBB.1.5 SARS-CoV-2 (Kraken) and rated it low for the population general. The risk is moderate to high for vulnerable people such as the elderly and unvaccinated and immunocompromised people, depending on their immunity against SARS-CoV-2. “There are several knowledge gaps with XBB.1.5 and this assessment may change in the coming weeks as more evidence becomes available,” the ECDC points out.
According to the Center’s mathematical models, the subvariant XBB1.5 “could become dominant in the EU after one or two months, given the current low percentages reported in the EU and its estimated growth rate. There are currently no signs that the severity of XBB.1.5 infection is different from that of previously circulating Omicron subtypes.” The proportion of XBB.1.5 in the EU was below 2.5% in the last two weeks of 2022 (the most recent period in which variant proportions at this low level can be accurately estimated). In the United States (USA), XBB.1.5 is currently spreading 12% faster than other circulating variants.
“XBB1.5 is currently only present at very low levels in the EU, but could become dominant in the EU/EEA in the coming months,” he said. Andrew Ammon, director of ECDC. “In light of this, ECDC recommends appropriate testing and sequencing, increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccination, and strengthen infection prevention and control measures. Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as staying at home in case of illness, teleworking, good ventilation of indoor spaces and appropriate use of masks should also be considered.
ECDC proposes the following response options to public health authorities in the EU/EEA:
– Maintain or improve appropriate levels of SARS-CoV-2 testing and sequencing, according to target thresholds according to ECDC/WHO guidance and timely data sharing.
– Carry out appropriate risk communication activities aimed at healthcare professionals and the public, including information on treatment options.
– Improve the timely uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, including primary and booster doses according to national guidelines.
– Consider time-limited, non-pharmaceutical interventions such as staying home in case of illness, telecommuting, appropriate use of masks and good ventilation of indoor spaces.
– Follow appropriate Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidelines for healthcare settings.
January 13, 2023
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Covid. ECDC: “Kraken variant could become predominant in the EU but risk on the general population is currently assessed as low”
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