New Covid subvariant could be 'best yet at beating immune system', scientists fear | The Sun

New Covid subvariant could be 'best yet at beating immune system', scientists fear | The Sun

A NEW Covid subvariant that could be the 'best yet' at beating immune systems, has been detected.

It's believed to be rapidly spreading in Singapore – with medics dubbing it XBB.

So far it's been found in more than 17 countries including Denmark and Australia.

In Singapore, cases have more than doubled from 4,719 on October 10, to 11,732, The Independent reported.

Medics think that the subvariant is responsible for the rapid increase.

Cases have been on the up globally recently, as the winter months draw in – prompting a rise in respiratory issues.

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The most recent data in the UK states that in just one week, cases climbed over 30 per cent.

It's not yet clear if the subvariant has made its way to the UK, but medics have warned against the severity of XBB.

Amesh Adalja, a public-health expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said: "It is likely the most immune-evasive [subvariant] and poses problems for current monoclonal antibody-based treatments and prevention strategy.

"Even with immune-evasive variants, vaccine protection against what matters most – severe disease – remains intact."

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Dr Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in the US said that this variant could be different – especially as it moves around and mutates.

Many variants have previously gained traction by moving from country to country.

Vaccines have helped keep infections and hospitalisations at bay across the UK – meaning no restrictions for Brits.

"But this is different because now we have variants with extreme levels of immune evasion, and in any given country, potentially a few that could be in play at the same time," Dr Topol added.

Experts in the UK have raised concerns in the last week as there are early indications that deaths with Covid have started to rise.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: "Whilst this is concerning, it is too early to say whether these are deaths due to Covid-19 and it is reassuring that at this stage there is no overall excess mortality.

“If you are unwell or have symptoms of a respiratory infection, it is particularly important to avoid contact with elderly people or those who are more likely to have severe disease because of their ongoing health conditions.

“Wearing a face covering will also help stop respiratory infections spreading.”

Since the Omicron wave took hold in the UK last year, the majority of people who get the bug are experiencing common cold like signs.

However, there are concerns that more infections will add pressure to an already strained NHS.

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Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said the increase in patients with Covid-19 was causing “continued pressure” on the health service, along with a rise in the most serious ambulance call-outs and delays in discharging patients into community and social care.

He added: “As we prepare for a difficult winter ahead, it is vital that people protect themselves by coming forward for Covid and flu vaccinations if they are eligible as soon as they can – with bookings opening on Friday to everyone aged 50 and over.”

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