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Russia - virologists on a possible wave of Kraken

Chief researcher at the Gamaleya Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology Anatoly Altshtein did not rule out a wave of Kraken cases, but he does not see anything wrong with this.

“The virus differs little from the original omicron in terms of biological properties. It has a contagiousness like that of an "omicron", the lethality is also low. Therefore, the wave will not be especially terrible if it comes, because this is also not entirely clear, ”the Politics Today quotes the virologist.

In Russia, the first case of infection with a new strain of Covid-19 - XBB.1.5, aka Kraken, was recorded. According to the press service of Rospotrebnadzor, the virus was detected in the Penza region.

The epidemic continues, Altstein said, but it has already weakened significantly compared to the beginning of the spread of the virus three years ago. He recalled the difficult period of the first half of 2022, when the number of cases exceeded the previous two years, noting that the death rate was already much lower.

“After the severe wave that was at the beginning of 2022 (the number of infected people reached 200 thousand per day), subsequent waves are already lower, so there is no reason for a big panic,” the virologist explained.

Anatoly Altshtein drew attention to the fact that the population needs to remember the continuation of the epidemic and follow the sanitary and epidemiological rules for the prevention of morbidity - distance in public places, washing hands, wearing individual masks. The last recommendation, as the virologist emphasized, could reduce the incidence, but there has not yet been a mandatory introduction of a mask regimen. He also urged not to forget about vaccination.

In Russia, a 32-year-old woman was the first to become infected with the Kraken. A resident of Penza suffered a mild illness, the symptoms lasted five days. She cannot understand how she got infected, the woman says that she did not travel to other countries, and no one from the environment was sick with the virus.

"Kraken", which has become a subspecies of "omicron", was first discovered on October 20, 2022 in the state of New York. Infections with the strain have already been recorded in 25 countries. The infection has caused a rapid rise in cases in Europe and the United States, with an aggressive rise in infections. No cases of infection were observed in Russia until January 12, Kraken was found during monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing data, which are uploaded daily to the VGARus database.

According to the academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, epidemiologist Gennady Onishchenko, the strain could not but appear in Russia.

“This is normal, there is nothing to worry about. It’s good that the Kraken appeared, otherwise I was already starting to worry that we had a bad diagnosis, ”he said.

Experts note that the new strain, like other subspecies of Omicron, resembles the symptoms of SARS, but without treatment, Kraken can lead to serious complications. Signs include a significant increase in temperature, diarrhea, runny nose, sore throat, cough, aching limbs, loss of appetite.

Russia - virologists on a possible wave of Kraken