Cuba Remains Free of New Cases on Coronavirus Variant

Cuba Remains Free of New Cases on Coronavirus Variant
Fecha de publicación: 
6 May 2023
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So far Cuba has no reports of the new variant of the Omicron xbb.1.16 coronavirus (also called Arcturus), which is already circulating in more than 30 countries, with most cases in India, said Francisco Duran Garcia, national director of epidemiology of the Cuban public health ministry.


The expert told Granma newspaper that the country maintains border surveillance to detect, in a timely manner, any suspected case and closely follows the behavior of xbb.1.16 in the world.


The World Health Organization (WHO) recently qualified it as a new variant of interest, taking into consideration its rapid spread at international level, overcoming the xbb.1.5 variant, which was the dominant one in many regions.


First identified last January, this variant has an additional mutation in the spike protein and shows a high degree of evidence of increased risk of transmission and a moderate degree of immune escape, i.e., it appears to be more contagious than previous variants and moderately resistant to the immune system.


Despite spreading faster than the previous ones, the WHO considers that it does not appear to be causing a more serious disease, so the risk is low.


Among the most common symptoms are very high fever, cough, malaise and conjunctivitis, although there is not yet full consensus that it causes it.


A WHO report warns that, because of its characteristics, xbb.1.16 may spread globally and cause an increase in the incidence of cases, but the available evidence does not suggest the adoption of additional health measures.

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