Two cases of new Covid-19 subvariant found in Thailand

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Two cases of new Covid-19 subvariant found in Thailand

Two cases of new Covid-19 subvariant found in Thailand


One Thai and one foreign national have been infected with a new Omicron subvariant – XBB.1.5 – that emerged from two lineages of the Covid-19 subvariant, the Medical Science Department announced on Wednesday.

Both have recovered and no one they came into close contact with contracted the new subvariant, Dr Supakit Sirilak, the department’s director-general, told a press conference.

The department has reported the two XBB.1.5 cases to GISAID, a global science initiative that provides access to genomic data of influenza viruses.

XBB.1.5 is a descendent in the XBB lineage, which is a recombinant of two BA.2 descendent lineages.

From October 26, 2022 to February 12, 2023, 33,219 sequences of the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant have been reported from 54 countries (excluding low-coverage sequences).

Most are from the United States (73.7%). Other countries reporting the subvariant include the United Kingdom (6.6%), Canada (5.3%), Denmark (1.0%), Germany (2.65%), Ireland (1.0%), and Austria (1.5%), the World Health Organisation said at the end of last month.

There have been no indications so far that XBB.1.5 – when compared to other subvariants – causes more severe symptoms or poses a greater public health risk, Supakit said.

XBB.1.5 has been spreading fast in the US since the beginning of December, he said.

In Thailand, the BN.1 subvariant is still the dominant virus, and it is unlikely that XBB.1.5 will replace it here, he said.

BN.1 is a descendent of the BA.2.75 Omicron subvariant, Supakit said.

He advised members of the public to continue to protect themselves by wearing face masks and washing their hands frequently.

Those who have not received a Covid-19 vaccine in the last four months should get a booster shot, especially the elderly and those with health conditions that make them more likely to get severe symptoms from a Covid-19 infection, Supakit said.

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