Chief scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Soumya Swaminathan, on Thursday said some countries may see "another wave of infections" with the XBB subvariant of Omicron, a variant of COVID-19 virus.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) here, she clarified that as of now, there was no data from any country to suggest that these new variants are clinically more severe. "There are over 300 subvariants of Omicron.
I think the one that is concerning right now is XBB, which is a recombinant virus. We had seen some recombinant viruses earlier. It is very immune-evasive, which means it can overcome the antibodies. So slightly that we may see another wave of infections in some countries because of XBB," she said.
As the virus evolves, it is going to evolve more and more transmissible, she said. "As of now, there is no data from any country to suggest these new subvariants are more clinically severe," she clarified.
"We need to continue to monitor and track. We have seen that testing has gone down across countries, the genomic surveillance has also gone down over the last few months. We need to maintain at least a strategic sampling of genomic surveillance so that we can keep tracking the variants as we have been doing and studying," she said.
According to her, the Director General of the WHO has said that COVID-19 continues to be a public health emergency of international concern.
In the meantime, India reports 2,119 fresh cases and 2,582 recoveries in the last 24 hours.