Feigl-Ding accused the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of hiding the data about the subvariant for weeks even as it was causing a surge in infections.

COVID-19 infection rates are soaring across China, the United States, Japan and many more countries and experts have been cautioning against the rise of further new variants that can risk global communities. One such variant is the XBB15, which is now spreading across the US, especially in New York and the New England region, explained epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding.

In a series of tweets, the expert has stated that the recombinant XBB15 variant is the “next big one”. The expert states that the variant is more evasive and more infectious than older Omricon subvariants XBB and BQ.

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“Unreleased data shows XBB15, a super variant, surged to 40 percent US (CDC unreported for weeks!) and now causing hospitalization surges in New York/New England,” Feigl-Ding said. “Multiple models show #XBB15 is much worse in transmission R-value and infection rate than previous variants — faster by LEAPS and BOUNDS.”

 

Feigl-Ding said that the data showed the XBB15 variant was 120 percent faster than the BQ.1 sub-lineage of COVID-19, which was previously the fastest-spreading variant. Interestingly, Feigl-Ding accused the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of hiding the data about the subvariant for weeks even as it was causing a surge in infections. The expert stated that the recombinant was likely of American origin and had emerged in New York around October. Feigl-Ding also said that this was likely the cause behind the high number of COVID-19 cases in New York, which have not come down like in previous waves.

Feigl-Ding went on to explain how the variant is worse than older variants. He summarised that XBB15 was “one of the most immunity-evasive variants to date” and “one of the best variants for entry and invading human cells,” appeared to “spread much faster than old XBB or BQ variants”, and is causing a large number of “hospitalisations wherever it’s dominant.”

He also stated that since XBB15 was a recombinant variant, he wasn’t sure how effective existing vaccines developed for the Omicron variant were going to be.

 

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)


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