It is "XBB.1.5, which is the recombination of two BA.2 sublineages."
At a briefing on Thursday, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of the rapid spread of XBB.1.5, a new subvariant of COVID-19.
"There is intense transmission and pressure on health systems, particularly in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and a recombinant subvariant is spreading rapidly. XBB.1.5 is the recombinant of two BA.2 sublineages," Ghebreyesus said.
According to the director general, the XBB.1.5 has been detected in 29 countries and was first detected in October 2022. Ghebreyesus said that it appears to be growing rapidly in certain parts of the world.
Ghebreyesus also said during the briefing, that having entered the fourth year of the pandemic, the world is doing much better than in previous years because of clinical care management, vaccines, and treatments.
I hope you're recovering well!— Michael Schwandt (he/him) (@MichaelSchwandt) January 6, 2023
*As far as I know*, BA.5 is still the most common subvariant in ON, but XBB.1.5 is on the rise. Maybe I can page Dr. @BogochIsaac for local notes.
(This is happening *very* quickly in the US, northeast in particular.⬇ https://t.co/hvEyPsNzKM) pic.twitter.com/TRZmFI7rXb
Ghebreyesus added that "WHO is closely monitoring, assessing, and will inform Member States of the risk accordingly."
Ghebreyesus referred to a meeting held this week between the WHO Technical Advisory Group with Chinese experts to discuss the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A statement was issued, noting the need for further analysis and data sharing to understand the evolution of the virus.
"WHO is concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses, to protect against hospitalization, severe illness and death," the official said.