The “American” variant XBB.1.5 dominating in Europe in the coming weeks

As for the Chinawill Europe close its airports to American planes ? the Highly contagious subvariant of Omicron XBB.1.5, which is spreading rapidly in Covid-19 cases in the United States, is indeed likely to become dominant in Europe within a month or two, the European epidemic agency estimated on Friday. While it was only responsible for 2.5% of cases in the United States at the end of 2022, XBB.1.5 now represents 27% of contaminations, a sign of its very strong progression compared to other variants.

This subvariant, which was first detected at United States in October and which is the most contagious vector of the new coronavirus to date, represents a “low risk for the population as a whole”, according to the latest assessment published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). This risk is however “moderate to high” for “vulnerable people, such as the elderly, unvaccinated or immunocompromised”, according to the European agency based in stockholm.

Not more serious than other variants, but more contagious

For the ECDC, “many gray areas exist with XBB.1.5 and this assessment could change in the coming weeks”. “ECDC’s mathematical models indicate that XBB1.5 could become dominant in the European Union (…) within one to two months, due to the low number of cases currently reported” on the continent “and its rate of progress”. According to the European Epidemic Agency, “there is currently no evidence that the severity of infection with XBB.1.5 is different from that of other sublineages. of Omicron “.

A total of 38 countries have reported cases of XBB.1.5, including 82% in the United States, 8% in UK and 2% at Denmarkthe World Health Organization said on Wednesday (WHO). It looks a lot like its predecessor XBB.1, but has an additional mutation in its spike protein, the virus’s famous entry key, according to virologists.

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