Of Sarah Bettoni
The first case was identified by a family doctor, the second by the Monza Asst. Bertolaso: no alarm, Kraken is no more dangerous than the strains already in circulation
The Kraken variant of the Covid also peeps out in Lombardy, after gaining a foothold in the United States and appearing in various European countries. However, she shouldn’t scare more than the other “sisters”, despite the fact that she has been given the name of a sea monster that animates various legends: at the moment there is no data that suggests more serious forms of the disease or greater transmissibility. The Region, through the surveillance of the infections, has so far found two cases of Kraken (whose scientific name is XBB 1.5). The first was found at As, thanks to a family doctor. The second to Monzathrough the hospital.
A “variation on a theme” by Omicron
Fausto Baldanti, head of the molecular virology laboratory of the San Matteo Polyclinic in Pavia, traces the identikit of the “monster” in question. “It’s a recombinant variant, as is Gryphon. It means that it should be considered as a “variation on the theme” of Omicron»
The Lombard data is in line with the Italian results. «The periodic surveys to identify the variants have never stopped – explains Baldanti -. The sequencings are done on a certain number of cases, based on the total number of infections found Region by Region. Thanks to a statistical calculation, the variants that represent at least one percent of the infections are reported». Quota reached by Kraken in Lombardy and almost missed at the national level: 16 cases have emerged so far, equal to 0.8 percent of the total.
Kraken could become dominant
We’re so far away at the moment, come on numbers registered in the United States, where the “monster” was first identified on October 22 last year and accounted for 40 percent of new infections by early January. In Europe, however, it is stuck at 2.5 percent. But according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it could become dominant within a couple of months. A trend that shouldn’t worry you anyway. «It has already happened with other variants, it is part of the epidemiology of this infection – says the virologist -. Additionally Kraken contains genetic material from Omicron 2 and 5. The fourth dose of the updated Omicron 5 vaccine acts as a shield».
T cell immunity
Another element dispels fears. According to some studies, the new form of the virus could escape the neutralizing antibodies, however the “second weapon” of the immune system still remains active, i.e. the T cell. They guarantee wider coverage, as already highlighted at the beginning of 2021 by the Pavia experts.
Bertolaso: cases in decline in Lombardy
Also Guido Bertolaso, Lombard councilor for health, reassures citizens. «Our surveillance systems prove to be effective in verifying what is happening in the area. The Covid incidence is decreasing in our Region and it is equal to 61 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, lower than the Italian average of 88” (data that obviously do not take into account do-it-yourself tests, ed). And the flu also starts to slow down the ride.
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January 20, 2023 (change January 21, 2023 | 09:12)
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