Three cases of Kraken, detected for the first time in Moldova: It is the most contagious mutation of COVID

Three cases of Kraken were detected, for the first time, in the Republic of Moldova.

The National Agency for Public Health (ANSP) announces that the results of the sequencing reaction, from January 16, 2023, show that, in all 16 selected samples, the circulation of sublines belonging to the Omicron variant was identified. In 3 samples, the XBB.1.5 subline (unofficially called Kraken) was confirmed, for the first time in the Republic of Moldova, being the most contagious subline at the moment.

ANSP recommends citizens to get vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, this being the only safe and effective method to prevent serious cases of illness and death from COVID-19.

What is Kraken? The new variant has the official name of XBB.1.5 and is the result of the combination of two variant fragments – what is called a “recombinant subvariant”.

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“Two different sequences of BA.2 Omicron have joined together to create this new variant,” explains Sheena Cruickshank, researcher at the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at the University of Manchester.

The subvariant, named “Kraken” after the legendary aquatic monster, is said to have first appeared in the US around November-December 2022, in or near New York state. Kraken is behind a sharp increase in the number of cases in the United States, where it is estimated to be responsible for 41% of current Covid-19 cases, according to data released by the US CDC.

After the US, the new mutation was also discovered in countries in Europe, Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. Kraken has also been discovered in the United Kingdom. Cruickshank says the mutation “is responsible for around 4% of active cases in the Kingdom at the moment, but we are seeing that number rising quite rapidly”.

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