WHO Cannot Conclude the Severity of the Kraken Variant

Mutating virus variant and cell mutation variants as a health risk concept and new coronavirus outbreak or covid-19 viral cells mutations and influenza background as a 3D render.
Mutating virus variant and cell mutation variants as a health risk concept and new coronavirus outbreak or covid-19 viral cells mutations and influenza background as a 3D render.

The Covid-19 virus has mutated again. In circulating reports, the newest variant, the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant or the Kraken Variant, is reported to have spread in several countries. World Health Organization (WHO), in a report published on Wednesday, was unable to draw any conclusions about the severity of the subvariant.

Although Kraken variant does not have a mutation that could make people sicker when they catch the virus, the WHO admits in its report that it does not have “real world” data on how XBB.1.5 affects patients’ health.

However, kraken variant is indeed one of the Covid subvariants that is most adept at avoiding immunity from vaccination or infection, similar to the XBB.1 subvariant immunity, where this variant is smart at avoiding antibodies that block infection.

“XBB.1.5 could lead to an increase in cases globally, but it’s difficult to know for sure because almost all of the data comes from the United States (US),” the WHO said, citing The Guardian, saying more data was needed on how fast XBB.1.5 was spreading across the continent. other countries.

It should be noted that XBB.1.5 itself is now spreading rapidly in the US, especially in the Northeast, dominating up to 70%. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this increased cases from around 2% in early December 2022 to nearly 28% in the first week of January 2023.

The WHO itself has asked countries to return to mandating masks on long-haul flights due to the spread of XBB.1.5. According to the ABC report, schools in the US have also asked students and teachers to wear masks again.

Meanwhile last week, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said XBB.1.5 was the most contagious Covid subvariant to date. Scientists believe XBB.1.5 has a growth advantage because it is highly immune and binds more tightly to human cells, making it more infectious.

“This is the most infectious subvariant that has been detected,” Van Kerkhove told reporters at a Jan. 4 news conference in Geneva.

“The reason for this is a mutation present in this omicron subvariant that allows this virus to attach to cells and replicate easily.”

Data on how well the vaccine holds up against XBB.1.5 is also limited. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines still generally prevent hospitalization and death.

However, public health officials in the US have emphasized that it is especially important for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, to have the latest vaccine information to prevent severe disease.
Meanwhile, this subvariant is even predicted to have entered Indonesia. Epidemiologist Dicky Budiman from Griffith University in Australia explained that the XBB 1.5 variant might have entered Indonesia. Dicky said that there might already be an area with international flight routes.

This is considering that people’s mobility has increased or is almost like before the pandemic.

“Most likely it has been detected [in Indonesia], especially provinces or cities that have international flight routes,” said Dicky.

“That is not unusual in the context of connectivity after the disclosure of many violations in various countries in the middle of 2022.”

As is known, the Indonesian government has loosened regulations regarding restrictions on community activities or PPKM. the decision was based on the downward trend of Covid-19 cases.

However, the government continues to urge the public to always comply with health protocols because the WHO has not revoked the “pandemic” status. A spike in cases can also occur at any time.