Sunday January 29, 2023

XBB.1.5 strain of Omicron spotted in Finland: THL

Published : 14 Jan 2023, 00:44

  DF Report

Pixabay File photo.

The XBB.1.5 sublineage of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been found in Finland, said the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in a press release on Friday.

The XBB.1.5 sublineage variant was first detected in United States in October, 2022 and rapidly becoming more common in that country in December 2022.

Later it was also found in Great Britain and several EU and EEA countries.

"It was to be expected that the virus variant in question would be found in Finland also before long," Carita Savolainen-Kopra, a leading expert of THL said.

The THL expert said that the variant may be easily transmittable and now it is not known to cause more serious illness than other omicron variants.

Savolainen-Kopra also said that vaccine protection against serious illness has remained excellent irrespective of variants.

Earlier on January 9, THL said that no XBB.1.5 sublineage of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been found in Finland yet.

The new coronavirus variant XBB.1.5 could be widespread in Europe within the coming weeks, an expert believes.