ECDC warns 'Kraken' might become dominant COVID-19 strain
The United States accounts for more than 82% of all XBB.1.5 infections worldwide, followed by the United Kingdom (8.1%) and Denmark (2.2%).
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said, on Friday, that "the XBB.1.5 subvariant of COVID-19's most prolific variant to date, Omicron, might account for more than 50% of infections in Europe within a month or two."
The subvariant, dubbed "Kraken" on social media, first appeared in the US in October and has since been detected in 37 other countries. It has a 12% daily growth advantage in the United States.
"Mathematical modeling performed by ECDC provides estimates of when XBB.1.5 might become dominant (i.e. causes more than 50% of infections) in the EU/EEA by using a broad range of scenarios with hypothetical values of the growth rate advantage and of the current proportions of XBB.1.5 in the EU/EEA," the ECDC stated in a threat assessment brief.
The United States accounts for more than 82% of all XBB.1.5 infections worldwide, followed by the United Kingdom (8.1%) and Denmark (2.2%). The novel subvariant caused more than 27% of all coronavirus infections in the United States.
It is worth noting that the World Health Organization stated, in its fast risk assessment analysis issued on Wednesday, that variants of the XBB.1.5 belonged to the categories of the most immune-evasive Omicron subvariants. Although the WHO stated that it did not possess any mutation known to raise severity, the assessment of illness severity is still ongoing.
Read next: Pentagon rescinds Covid-19 vaccine mandate