25 May, 2023: Another wave of Covid in China? Read to know more.
By the end of June, China may be experiencing 65 million fresh cases of Covid-19 infestations per week.
Zhong Nanshan, an expert on respiratory diseases, made this frightening forecast at a biotech symposium in Guangzhou. Mr. Zhong's assessment offers a rare window into the potential consequences of the most recent omicron variety, XBB, which has been driving a rise in cases across China since the end of April.
What is the XBB variant ?
The COVID-19 coronavirus Omicron strain, which is now the most contagious variant of concern (VOC), contains a subvariant known as XBB.1.5. Unofficially known as Kraken, XBB.1.5 is a sublineage of XBB made up of two strains of the subvariant BA.2 and belongs to the XBB family. In the US, it was first discovered in October 2022.
At least 38 nations have detected the presence of XBB.1.5, including Canada, Australia, Kuwait, Germany, and France.
According to the WHO, there is currently no solid proof that Kraken will cause more severe sickness than its forerunners.
Scientists all around the world stated that its one of the most transferable virus variants of Covid but not as dangerous.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention discontinued publishing its weekly numbers earlier this month as a result of this shift to admitting the virus, raising significant concerns about the true severity of Covid-19 in China.
According to Mr. Zhong's prediction, this wave of illnesses would be less severe than the one that rocked China in late 2016 and early 2017. A different omicron sublineage was probably infecting 37 million people per day at that time, overflowing hospitals and forcing locals to compete for scarce supplies of fever medication.
China is hastily adding new vaccines that especially target XBB to its vaccine stockpile in response to this emerging threat. Two of these vaccines have already received preliminary approval from the nation's medicines regulator, and another three or four are anticipated to follow soon. Mr. Zhong said, "We can lead the pack internationally in the development of more efficient vaccines."
Recently, a World Health Organisation (WHO) advisory group suggested that one of the prevalent XBB types should be targeted in this year's COVID-19 booster doses.
Vaccine producers for COVID-19, including Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna Inc., and Novavax Inc., are already working on formulations of their respective vaccines that will target XBB.1.5 and other strains that are now spreading.
The COVID-19 vaccine variant compositions will be discussed in a meeting of specialists to be held by the US Food and Drug Administration in June; after the strains are chosen, vaccine producers will be expected to update their products.
It is unclear how well these new vaccines will work to stop the spread of XBB as China gets ready for this next round of infections. It is obvious that the battle against Covid-19 is far from done with millions more cases anticipated each week.