WHO tracking VOI XBB.1.5, six other variants under monitoring: Centre to states, UTs

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The Centre on Friday told the states and Union territories that currently the World Health Organisation is closely tracking one variant of interest (VOI), XBB.1.5, and six other variants are under monitoring BQ.1, BA.2.75, CH.1.1, XBB, XBF and XBB.1.16.

During a review meeting on the Covid-19 situation, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya virtually interacted with the health ministers of the states and union territories and advised them to ramp up vaccination of all eligible populations, especially of the elderly and vulnerable population groups.

It was highlighted that while Omicron and its sub-lineages continue to be the predominant variant, most of the assigned variants have little or no significant transmissibility, disease severity, or immune escape.

The prevalence of XBB.1.16 increased from 21.6 percent in February to 35.8 percent in March, 2023. However, no evidence of an increase in hospitalization or mortality has been reported.

It was also informed that while India has achieved over 90 percent coverage of primary vaccination, the coverage of precaution dose is very low.

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