XBB Covid variant spreading in India will soon reach Thailand: expert


A PULMONARY disease expert said in a Facebook post this morning (Dec. 12) that Thailand has to watch what Covid-19 strain is spreading in India because the same variant usually comes here with the one currently taking hold there being XBB, Sanook.com said.

Dr. Manoon Leechawengwong, who is based at Vichaiyut Hospital, said the Delta variant was first discovered in India late 2020 after which it spread globally with Thailand suffering from a big Delta wave in the middle of 2021.

In June this year India was among the countries where the BA.2.75 Covid subspecies was first identified and it then replaced BA.5 as the dominant strain there. After that this strain spread to many countries including Thailand where it set off a new Covid wave.

India is now seeing the XBB variant spread in the country, with this having mutated from BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 strains, and it is expected to replace BA.2.27 there shortly.

Dr Manoon said Thailand should likewise brace for the XBB variant spreading here similar to India.

XBB is more infectious than the older strains and can evade immunity better regardless of whether this was acquired through vaccination or infection.

New Covid variants now take shorter time to replace previous ones – just three to four months – after which they trigger a new global pandemic.

Fortunately these new strains do not cause severe illness and death as Delta did, especially those who have received four jabs with two of them being boosters.

Meanwhile the Public Health Ministry said this morning that during the week of Dec. 4-10, 2022 there were 3,961 hospitalised Covid patients, or 566 a day, and 107 deaths, or 15 a day.

From Jan. 1 this year there have been 2,492,054 recoveries and 11,694 deaths.


Top: A representative image of the XBB variant. Credit: Hindustan Times

Insert: Dr. Manoon Leechawengwong. Photo: Thai Rath

Front Page: People wait to take coronavirus disease tests at a pop-up testing site in New York City, on July 11, 2022. Photo: Reuters/ Brendan McDermid and published by CNBC

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