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WHO officially designates XBB.1.16 as a COVID “variant of interest”

April 24, 2023 – The recent COVID-19 subvariant XBB.1.16 is spreading so rapidly across the globe that the World Health Organization has officially added the strain to its list of “variants of interest.”

Although it has no official name, XBB.1.16 is known as “Arcturus.” Since its emergence in India in January, it has grown exponentially and now accounts for 4.2% of worldwide cases and 9.6% of Cases in the USAThe CDC has not issued an official watch list for Arcturus.

The latest WHO Summary highlighted the “immune escape properties” of XBB.1.16 and predicted that it can proceed to be liable for an increasing variety of cases. However, “there are no early signs of an increase in severity,” the WHO concluded.

Anecdotal reports from medical professionals indicate that Arcturus may cause symptoms of conjunctivitis in some cases, even in children.

Both the CDC and WHO reported late last week that COVID levels continued to say no, but WHO warned that the general numbers don't provide an accurate picture of the state of COVID on the earth.

“Contrary to the general trend, there continued to be a significant increase in reported cases and deaths in Southeast Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as in several other countries,” the WHO report said.

In the WHO South-Eastern Region, cases have increased by 654% and within the Eastern Mediterranean Region by 96%. The variety of deaths can be increasing. The WHO South-Eastern Region includes India, Nepal, Korea and eight other countries. The Eastern Mediterranean Region includes Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and 18 other countries.

Globally, and likewise within the United States, XBB.1.5 stays the predominant strain. According to the WHO, it's liable for 51% of worldwide cases, and the CDC attributes 79% of U.S. cases to it. XBB.1.5 was essentially the most common strain within the U.S. throughout 2023.