Experts claim there is a NEW Covid variant named XBB.1.5 and it’s already behind one in 25 cases in the UK as officials warn it is spreading rapidly
A highly contagious Covid strain has emerged and is already behind one in 25 cases in the UK, surveillance data suggests.
The strain — dubbed XBB.1.5 — has caused alarm in the US over its quick spread and a recent rise in hospitalisations. It is behind four in 10 cases in the country, up from two in 10 just one week earlier.
The variant, which is a sub-variant of Omicron, has mutations that help it to better infect people and dodge protection from vaccination and prior infection.
Sequencing data suggests it was already behind four per cent of cases in the UK the week before Christmas.
However, experts caution that there is no indication the strain causes more severe illness than earlier strains.
Over 40 per cent of Covid cases in the US are now caused by the highly contagious strain, data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Friday.
Although many public health experts are expressing concern about the rising Covid cases in China, infectious disease experts have been increasingly worried about the XBB.1.5 variant.