New Covid variant ‘Kraken’ termed most transmissible by WHO. Know why it is concerning


oi-Madhuri Adnal


Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Jan 11: A new Covid strain dubbed the Kraken or or XBB.1.5 variant is a descendant of the Omicron XBB sub-variant. It was first detected in the United States in 2022, this variant has quickly picked up pace and has raised concerns in many countries including India.

 New Covid variant Kraken termed most transmissible by WHO. Know why it is concerning

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), it is a recombinant of BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 sublineages and the most transmissible version of Covid. The variant has now been identified in at least 29 other countries.

So, who gave the nickname? Ryan Gregory, a biology professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, gave the termed it as ‘Kraken’ to XBB.1.5, as reported by Fortune.

According to Professor Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London, Kraken appears to have the ability to bind to cells while evading the body’s immune defences, leading to greatly increased transmissibility.

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The cold-like symptoms that Kraken produces are largely the same as Omicron, and, according to the UK’s National Health Service, can include:

  • A high temperature or shivering
  • Your chest or back will feel hot to the touch (there is no need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this may look like coughing a lot for over an hour or three plus coughing episodes in a day
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes to, or loss of, sense of smell and taste
  • Feelings of fatigue or exhaustion
  • A sore throat
  • Aches throughout your body
  • Headaches
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea

Should you be worried?

According to Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, Co-chairman of the National IMA Covid task force, XBB.1.5 is an upgraded version of XBB, a recombinant sub-lineage of Omicron that was found a few months ago in multiple countries like Singapore and later in India. “XBB.1.5 has a greater ability to attach itself to the human ACE-2 receptor while retaining the outstanding immune evasiveness of its ancestor,” he said.

On January 3, the SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) informed that India has a total of five detected cases of the XBB.1.5 variant: three in Gujarat and one in Karnataka and one in Rajasthan.

Story first published: Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 1:29 [IST]

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