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Omicron variant XBB.3 feared to be dominant in India in a month: report

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-10-25 17:01

A health worker inoculates a man with a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Bangalore, India, in this July 16, 2022 file photo. [Photo/Str/Xinhua]

NEW DELHI - The Omicron sub-variant XBB, particularly XBB.3, is likely to be the dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in India within a month, reported The Times of India newspaper on Tuesday citing scientists.

According to the report, there were 71 confirmed cases of XBB-driven COVID-19 infection in India in the beginning of this month, and the number jumped to 136 by Oct. 23. "On Monday the case count was 235," it added.

It quoted a senior scientist with the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) as saying that the XBB.3 strain is currently leading the pack in India "with maximum cases."

According to the report, the eastern state of West Bengal has reported the highest number of such infections, at 103, in the South Asian country.

"Authorities have called for caution. In Maharashtra the health department has warned that a possible XBB-led spike may peak by mid-November," added the report.

According to a member of the national COVID-19 task force Dr. Sanjay Pujari, the genomic surveillance must continue. "Impact of these sub-variants on illness severity needs to be explored and (COVID-19 vaccine) booster uptake, at least for those at higher risk, needs to improve," he added.

The XBB variant was first detected in August and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described it as among the most immune-evasive versions of the COVID-19 virus yet. It is being closely monitored by countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

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