A total of 76 samples of COVID-19’s XBB.1.16 variant have been found in India, which might be the reason behind the recent surge in cases in the country, according to data from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). The variant has been detected across eight states and union territories, including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Delhi, Telangana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Odisha.
XBB 1.16 Variant First Detected in January
The XBB 1.16 variant was first discovered in January 2023 when two samples tested positive for the variant. In February, a total of 59 samples were found, and in March, until now, 15 samples of the XBB 1.16 variant have been detected.
Experts Attribute the Rise in Cases to the Variant
Some experts have attributed the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India to the XBB 1.16 variant. Dr Randeep Guleria, former AIIMS director and leader of the national Covid task force, said that the rise in Covid cases seems to be driven by the XBB 1.16 variant, while the increase in influenza cases is because of H3N2. However, he also emphasized that most of the cases are not severe, and following Covid-appropriate behaviour can help contain the spread of the infection.
XBB.1.16 Variant Detected in 12 Countries
According to experts, the new XBB.1.16 variant has now been detected in at least 12 countries, with the highest number of cases in India, followed by the US, Brunei, Singapore, and the UK. India has seen a 281% increase in cases and a 17% increase in deaths over the past 14 days.
India’s Single-Day Tally of COVID-19 Cases Crosses 800 after 126 Days
India’s single-day tally of COVID-19 cases had recently crossed 800 after 126 days, while the number of active cases climbed to 5,389. The rise in cases has led to concerns among health experts, who are urging people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated to help contain the spread of the virus.