As India is witnessing a steady increase in daily Covid-19 infections, 349 cases of newly detected XBB1.16 variant, which might have been behind the recent rise of coronavirus cases, have been found in the country.
These samples were found in nine states and Union Territories, with the highest number in Maharashtra at 105, followed by Telangana at 93, Karnataka at 61, and Gujarat at 54. The XBB 1.16 variant was first discovered in January, with two positive samples, followed by 140 samples in February and 207 in March.
India has recently seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, with 1,300 new cases reported on Thursday, the highest in 140 days, bringing the total number of active cases to 7,605. The death toll has risen to 5,30,816, with three deaths reported in Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Dr Randeep Guleria, former director of AIIMS, suggested that the new XBB.1.16 variant could be responsible for the recent surge but stressed that there was no need for panic as long as it does not cause severe illness and death.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Wednesday, emphasizing the need to maintain vigilance and precautions in light of the recent spike in influenza and coronavirus cases. He also called for increased genome sequencing and adherence to COVID-appropriate behavior.
The XBB.1.16 variant is a recombinant lineage of the virus and is a descendant of the XBB lineage of COVID-19.
According to Dr Guleria, new variants will continue to emerge as the virus mutates over time, and XBB 1.16 is a “new kid on the block.” (With inputs from PTI)