COVID Surge Risk With Kraken Variant

According to the data collected so far, this variant appears to have a large growth advantage over previously circulating lineages. But the ECDC explains: “It is too early to evaluate changes in the severity of the infection”.

New Wave of Covid-19

It could cause a new wave of Covid-19 cases in Europe but in reality, apart from its great ability to spread, not much is known about the new “Kraken” subvariant yet. This is highlighted by the latest ECDC report according to which “there is a risk that this variant could have a growing effect on the number of Covid-19 cases in the EU/EEA, but not within the following month, as the variant is currently present only at very low levels in the EU/EEA┬╗ and specifies that ┬źbecause of the uncertainties associated with the growth rate of the variant, this assessment is associated with a high degree of uncertainty┬╗.

Detection in Romania

In the aftermath of the two cases of subvariant detected in Romania, XBB.1.5 – this is the scientific name – is under close surveillance. To date, in fact, most of the reports come from the United States (4,111 sequences) and the United Kingdom (202 sequences) but the subvariant has also been detected in several other countries, including European ones: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark , France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

But, underlines the ECDC, “the proportion of the variant in the EU/EEA is less than 2.5% in the last two weeks of 2022 for all countries where it is possible to accurately estimate the proportions of the variant at this low level”.

According to the data collected so far, this variant appears to have a large growth advantage over previously circulating lineages in North America (109%) and Europe (113%).

But due to the uncertainty associated with the estimate, it is not yet clear whether the variant will become dominant in the US in the coming weeks: ┬źThe rapid growth in the US does not necessarily mean that the variant will become dominant in the EU/EEA, as during the important differences in the circulation of variants between North America and Europe have been observed several times during the pandemic.

“At the moment – specify the Center’s experts – there is not enough information available to evaluate any change in the severity of the infection associated with the variant”, however it seems that Kraken is able to bind more successfully to ACE2, the receptor present on the surface of the cells of different organs, through which the virus enters the body.

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