A new variant of COVID19, one of the most common infections known to date, has been detected in France. Called XBB.1.16, it will primarily affect children by causing conjunctivitis. Scientists call it XBB.1.16, or Arcturus, after the star. It is composed of two variants of Omicron’s BA.2 sub-variants. If he is not a “very dangerous” character, he is closely watched by the World Health Organization, in the same way as variants BA.2.75 or BQ.1.1.
This variant has been identified in 33 countries, including the United States and France (fewer than ten cases), but particularly in India, where it is the cause of the outbreak. According to the Indian press, children are particularly affected, the symptoms are classic with cough, fever and runny nose, but also with a small peculiarity: conjunctivitis.
At the moment, due to the immunity acquired by the population and the rate of people vaccinated, France and Europe are facing a very mild 10 wave, due to the XBB.1.15 variant.
This variable, which may have already reached its peak, has had a much smaller impact on hospital services, especially in emergency situations.
However, the scientists point out that the new XBB.1.16 variant can also remain in the body for a long time and lead to serious, even fatal, compensations in immunocompromised subjects or in patients with severe comorbidities. So caution is still in order.
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