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What You Need to Know About XBB.1.5, Dangerous Omicron Strain Known as “Kraken,” Which is Rising in US

The “Kraken” coronavirus strain, which is a powerful coronavirus variant known as XBB.1.5, is rapidly spreading throughout the US.

“It’s probably, arguably, more formidable than any of the other subvariants currently available in terms of its immune evasiveness and its ability to attach well,” Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious-disease specialist and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health, told Insider.

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XBB.1.5 is currently thought to be responsible for over 40% of all COVID-19 cases in the US, as per estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a significant increase from only one month ago when it was thought to be responsible for less than 4% of cases. As per estimations, XBB.1.5 is responsible for over 75% of newly reported cases in Northeastern states such as Connecticut and Vermont.

According to computational biologist Andy Rothstein, “It’s performing fairly well right now.” “Week by week, it doubles.”

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The XBB.1.5 variation has two advantages over other forms of Omicron that give it a competitive edge, according to Rothstein, who co-leads the CDC’s airport testing and sequenced program for Concentric by Ginkgo, a biosecurity division of the Boston biotech organization.