Aga Khan University Hospital has raised concerns over the spread of the new COVID subvariant XBB.1.5 in the country. It was detected through genome sequencing.
An expert associated with Aga Khan University Hospital said that “Yes, we have found the XBB.1.5 sub-variant of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) through genome sequencing of the virus from an infected patient.”
The reason behind the lesser number of patients detected with the new subvariant has been told to be the lesser number of tests. Also, people having upper respiratory tract infections were not getting themselves tested.
A statement given by the National Institute of Health Islamabad on Monday said, “COVID-19 positivity remained at 0.36% when only 11 people tested positive after 3,085 tests were conducted and added that only 14 people were in critical condition throughout the country.”
#Omicron's new sub-variant XBB.1.5 has started to spread in #Pakistan, revealed through genome sequencing held in #AKUH.— Healthwire News (@HealthwireNews) January 18, 2023
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While talking about the presence of the new Omicron sub-variant in Pakistan, Dr. Rsna Jawad Asghar who is a renowned infectious disease expert said, “Fortunately, it is not causing a severe disease so most of the people who are contracting upper respiratory tract infections are not getting themselves tested. Most of the people who are getting tested on daily basis are actually travelers, who are a healthier segment of society so we are not getting the actual situation of COVID-19 in the country.”
Experts also say that the Pakistani population has a higher level of immunity due to previous infections and vaccinations making the number of patients getting infected by it lesser.