Covid, the Kraken variant from the USA worries Europe: the risk of an increase in infections and the vaccine

Concern about Kraken, the new Covid variant, is growing in Europe. Here’s what we know about the aggression rate and effectiveness of vaccines

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Concern about the variant is growing in Europe Kraken of the Covid-19, yet another subvariant of Omicron of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which has been keeping the whole world in check for about three years. The United States has seen an increase in hospitalizations and deaths in recent months, but both the WHO and the ECDC advise caution and dispel any alarmism.

Covid, what is the new Kraken variant: the symptoms

Compared to the last wave of the Gryphon variantOmicron’s new subvariant, Kraken, is found to be highly contagious.

The scientific name is Xbb1.5 and, as the naming suggests, we’re talking about the same family as Omicron’s Gryphon Xbb subvariant. Basically it is the umpteenth mutation of the genome of the virus that is the main actor of the pandemic, and we are talking about the “umpteenth” as since the first appearance of SARS-CoV-2 there have been many other variants that can be easily contained thanks to theimmunization.

Covid-19 KrakenPhoto source: iSTOCK

Covid-19, is the new Kraken variant from the USA a threat to Europe?

According to the first data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO / WHO), in the United States the Kraken variant has already infected a quarter of those infected with Coronavirus. This would be due to its high infectious potential which would lead the patient to infect at least 15 people.

As for i symptoms let’s talk about the most usual manifestations that we have encountered in the new variants that have emerged: cough, sore throat, exhaustion and widespread joint and muscle pain.

The cases in Europe

Should Europe be concerned? An initial response comes from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) which in a official statement published today, Monday 9 January 2023, informs that “there is a risk that this variant could have an increasing effect on the number of Covid-19 cases”, but making estimates would be premature as “the variant is currently only present in very low levels in the EU/EEA”.

If on the one hand it would be premature to make estimates and generate alarmism, on the other the British epidemiologist Tim Spector on Twitter predicts that the Kraken variant could be the one to pay more attention to in 2023.

If it appeared in the USA in October 2022, in Europe its presence is recorded in at least 25 countries, as the WHO director general points out Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The first official data on the rate of diffusion of the Kraken variant will be communicated on Tuesday 10 January by the WHO European director general Hans-Henri Kluge at a press conference.

Is Kraken resistant to the vaccine?

Another question that experts are trying to answer is that of the interaction between Kraken and the Covid vaccine.

Dr. Aureliano Stingi, WHO collaborator, answers this question on the pages of ‘Republic’, and reminds us that in addition to antibodies, the anti-Covid protection also includes lymphocytes T which have already proved to be very effective against variants.

The ambivalent BA4-BA5 vaccine has already proven effective against the XBB variant, a family of which Kraken is a part. If the XBB variant has a great immunoevasive potential, on the other hand the T lymphocytes can stem the problem and for this reason it is advisable to constantly resort to immunization.


Photo source: iSTOCK

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Covid, the Kraken variant from the USA worries Europe: the risk of an increase in infections and the vaccine

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