The ‘Kraken’: A closer look at the latest COVID sub-variant

| Written by Deina Blancaflor

A new COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant named XBB1.5 or “Kraken” has rapidly spread worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that it is the most transmissible variant of Omicron so far. It is a descendant of the subvariant XBB which has recently swept Singapore.

Fortunately, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illnesses. However, the sharp increase in cases caused by XBB 1.5 is still a cause for concern. In the United States, nearly 28 percent of COVID cases this January were caused by this sub-variant. Other countries are already taking precautions to prevent its spread.

Are the signs and symptoms different for XBB 1.5? More importantly, are the current vaccines still effective? What’s the update on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and vaccinations in the Philippines? 

This January 27, from 12nn to 2 pm, the University of the Philippines (UP), in partnership with UP Manila National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Telehealth Center (NTC), and cooperation with UP-PGH, would like to invite you to join the fight against C.O.V.I.D—current COVID-19 problems, other outbreaks, viruses, infections, and disasters.

In this episode of Stop C.O.V.I.D Deaths, “Updates on the OMICRON Sub-variant XBB 1.5 (Kraken)”, an infectious disease expert, Dr. Franco B. Felizarta, and Philippine Genome Center Executive Director Dr. Cynthia P . Saloma will sort out the facts and discuss what front liners and the public need to know about this new strain.

UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla will deliver the synthesis and closing remarks.

Register here and catch our weekly live tweets and streams via the UP System Twitter account, TVUP’s YouTube channel, and Facebook page.

The award-winning UP “Stop COVID Deaths” Webinar Series is the Philippines’ first and only frontline-focused medical webinar series. It pioneered the discussion, dissemination, and adoption of knowledge on COVID-19 treatment and management. Follow our accounts to stay connected with your credible online community.