The recent emergence of the COVID-19 variant again raises concern globally. The XBB 1.16 variant, which is also known as Omicron XBB 1.16, is the latest strain of the COVID-19 which has raised the alarm worldwide. The recent data shows the variant has been detected in several countries, including India. XBB 1.16 variant of coronavirus has accounted for 60% of COVID cases in India.

The COVID-19 spread has continued with a significant threat to public health around the world. So let’s know more about this variant’s severity, transmission, and symptoms.

What is XBB 1.16?

First, let’s Understand what this new strain of corona virus is. The XBB 1.16 is a subvariant of the Omicron variant, which first emerged towards the end of 2021. XBB 1.16 has a few additional spike mutations, which are found in Omicron. Omicron world’s first detected in South Africa, and then it quickly spread to several other countries around the globe.

The XBB 1.16 variant has already been found in a number of nations, including South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This emphasizes the necessity of international cooperation in tracking and limiting the spread of novel variations.

It is known for its high transmission rate and ability to evade immunity. The XBB 1. 16 is said to be even more contagious than the original, Omicron variant. Experts have pointed out that it is way smarter to escape immunity. This has left to raise concerns among health experts.

The severity of the XBB 1.16 strain

While XBB 1.16 is highly contagious, it is still unclear whether it is more severe than the other variants of the virus. Dr. Samrat Shah, a consultant internist at Bharti Hospital in Mumbai, said that XBB 1.16 does not cause serious clinical issues in most people. The spike protein, a component of the virus that enables it to infect human cells, is thought to have undergone a number of alterations.

The XBB 1.16 variant’s capacity to defy protection, particularly after previous infections or vaccinations, is one of its worrying characteristics. Those who have already contracted corona virus or received specific immunizations may still be vulnerable to reinfection. Studies have indicated that the antibodies produced in response to such infections or vaccines are less efficient in protecting against this variation. Because of this, there have been worries that this mutation may make existing vaccines less effective or induce more severe disease.

Transmission Rate

XBB 1.16 has a notoriously high transmission rate, which is one reason it is becoming the dominant strain in India. The transmission of this virus is primarily occurring in respiratory topics, which is an important factor to take into account. When an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes, the droplets containing the virus can spread to nearby people, which makes it highly contagious.

One should always take safety precautions like wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer while they are out and at home to be safe.

But the good news is that the virus is less severe than the other variants or mutations. But remember, precaution is always better than cure.

Symptoms of XBB 1.16 mutation

According to experts, these covid Symptoms are similar to the other COVID-19 variants. A few symptoms include:

  • Upper respiratory features like nose clock, headache, and so throat comes along with fever and muscle pain.
  • Elderly patients with major comorbid factors may need to get hospitalized and potentially die from any viral infection.
  • Testing is essential because, as with every new variant, controlling its spread depends on early diagnosis and quick action. This emphasizes how important it is to perform comprehensive testing and genome sequencing in order to track the appearance of new mutations and spot epidemics.

Genomic surveillance

Genomic surveillance is ongoing in India to monitor the emergence of new variants, focusing mainly on international cases, usually corona virus cases. Regular surveillance is ongoing in the committed through Sentinel sites.

This information will help in the future to determine who will eat the variants detected more recently with the epidemiological dynamic as well as clinical outcomes.

The nation has established the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG) to carry out genomic sequencing and study the genome data. Ten national laboratories that are working on sequencing the virus genome are a part of the cooperation.

The ongoing genomic surveillance system in India helps correlate the variants discovered more recently with the epidemiological dynamics and clinical consequences, according to Dr. Rohit Kumar Garg, a consultant from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Amrita Hospital in Faridabad.

However, individuals connected to INSACOG claim that fewer SARS-CoV-2 viral samples than necessary may be sent to India for whole-genome sequencing. A scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, claimed that “we are simply not testing enough even though the cases are rising.”

How to protect yourself from XBB 1.16 variant

The Need for Continuing Monitoring, Despite the relatively mild nature of the covid symptoms, health experts are still urging individuals to take preventative measures to stop the virus’s spread.

The best thing you can do waste follow the guidelines set by the health officials. These guy guidelines include washing your hands frequently, wearing marks in public, practicing social distancing, and getting vaccinated.

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the virus and its mutants. Moreover, the corona virus vaccine is very effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.


The XBB 1.16 variant is a highly contagious sub-variant of the COVID-19 virus detected in several countries and raised a major threat to public health. Although it is about the severity of the XBB 1.16 variant if it’s more severe than the other variants of COVID-19, it’s still a major concern.

It is highly transmittable and has additional spikes of mutation, making it more contagious. It is essential to take extra precautions, especially for people with comorbid and older people. Vaccination is social to protect against illnesses such as hospitalization.

Therefore, you must take safety measures and get your vaccination as soon as possible. Stay safe!


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