Nightmare Covid variant found as it rapidly doubles new infections in days

A new "nightmare" Covid variant has doubled its number of infections in a matter of days.

Known as XBB it has so far been unearthed in 17 countries across Europe and Asia, as well as being picked up in a couple of people in the USA.

Some Asian media have labelled this particular strain a "nightmare" because of its exceptional ability to spread quickly.

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It is also thought to be able to evade many of the protection granted by the vaccine.

Thankfully though, current research doesn't appear to show that it causes more severe symptoms or serious illness.

John Swartzberg, a UC Berkeley infectious disease expert, told the San Fransico Chronicle: “We are seeing a slew of new variants that are using a similar approach to survive — they are finding ways to evade the way we get immunity from vaccines and previous infection with changes on the spike protein.

"XBB is no different from the others."

A mutant of Omicron BA.2, it has so far been found 23 times in the USA.

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"It's impossible to know what all these variants mean," said Swartzberg.

XBB was first discovered in India,MyLondonreports, but since then has appeared in 16 more countries including Bangladesh, Japan Australia, Denmark and Singapore.

In the space of a week, XBB went from being responsible for 22% of cases to a whopping 54%, the Singapore Ministry of Health said – 79% of the population there are vaccinated.

The ministry reckons there isn’t anything about XBB that makes it more dangerous but has so far been resistant to some treatments.

It saw its country go from 4,719 cases on 10 October to 11,732 on October 11, John Hopkins reports.

The country’s health minister Ong Ye Kung said: "XBB is a chimera. I think there have been a couple of sequences identified in the United States. But it's way, way, way, way below that 1 per cent threshold. I mean, it's really like a handful of sequences."

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