WHO spokesperson replied to our reporter: “Deltacroron” has not been found to have a stronger growth advantage, escape, and pathogenicity

  [Global Times-Global Network Reporter Bai Yunyi and Xie Wenting] According to local media reports, Thailand's Ministry of Health confirmed on the 6th of this month that the first case of the XAY.2 mutant strain of "Delta Kron" was detected in the country.

The news has aroused a lot of attention. Some media raised the question of "dual poison combined and then upgraded?", and many voices are concerned about the possible impact of this virus strain on the domestic epidemic situation in China.

  In this regard, World Health Organization spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said in an interview with the Global Times reporter on the 18th that based on limited data, the XAY. Demonstrating stronger immune escape ability and more severe pathogenicity, the protective measures against other new coronavirus variants can also be applied to the protection of this variant.

  According to Thai media reports, the XAY.2 strain is a variant of the recombination of the Delta subtype AY.45 and the Omicron subtype BA.4/5.

On January 19, Chang Zhaorui, a researcher at the Communication and Defense Department of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, introduced at a press conference held by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council that the XAY. Nine countries and regions have monitored that since December 2022, a very small number of countries, mainly Denmark, have shown an upward trend.

  World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier told the Global Times reporter on the 18th that from August 31, 2022 to January 17, 2023, the Global Influenza Sharing Database (GISAID) received a total of A total of 456 XAY.2 samples submitted by the country, "Based on the analysis of the above time span, this number is very low."

  He said that although the limited data restricted rigorous analysis, so far, the World Health Organization has not seen any signs that the XAY.2 mutant strain has obvious growth advantages. Severity also did not show a significant increase.

  Lindmeier told reporters that WHO and its partners will continue to monitor this and other variants for any signs of increased transmission or changes in clinical severity.

However, "so far, we have not observed the above-mentioned situation in XAY.2 variant strains. According to the available data, XAY.2 has not yet become the mainstream epidemic variant strain in any specific region or country."

  What protective measures should people take against XAY.2 mutant strains?

Are previous protective measures against other substrains of Omicron also effective for XAY.2?

In this regard, Lindmeier said that the same protective measures continue to be effective for all new coronavirus variants including XAY.2, such as vaccination including booster shots, maintaining social distance, and wearing them in crowded places Masks, improved ventilation, good hand and respiratory hygiene, etc.

  In particular, he emphasized that the current COVID-19 vaccine continues to have a protective effect against severe illness and death caused by all mutant strains, including XAY.2.

  Chang Zhaorui, a researcher at the Communication and Defense Division of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press conference held by the Joint Defense and Control Mechanism of the State Council on the 19th that the Delta Keron strain was recently detected in Thailand, and the international classification of the strain is named XAY.2.

There is currently insufficient data on the virus' transmissibility, pathogenicity, and ability to escape immunity.

  He said that at present, no XAY.2 mutant strain has been detected in our country. Relevant departments will continue to track international trends, further strengthen the monitoring of imported cases, local cases, and new coronavirus mutant strains in our country, and carry out research and judgment in a timely manner. It needs to be emphasized that we must continue to strengthen personal protection, and pay attention to maintaining good hygiene habits such as wearing a mask, hand hygiene, and frequent ventilation.

After entering the country, if there are symptoms related to the new coronavirus infection, they should do a good job of health monitoring and seek medical treatment in time if necessary.

  According to Thai media, citing the deputy director of the Department of Medicine of the Ministry of Health of Thailand, people infected with XAY.2 did not experience severe symptom reactions and have recovered from the disease.

Preliminary data suggest that symptoms of XAY.2 are not severe and vaccines have shown protection against it, he added.

Thailand's health ministry said it had shared information about the XAY.2 cases with the Global Influenza Sharing Database (GISAID).

  With the development and changes of the new crown epidemic situation, some people believe that the new crown epidemic may gradually turn into a seasonal and endemic epidemic.

  "We are still learning about the new coronavirus. In its fourth year, it is still new to us." In this regard, Lindmeier told the Global Times reporter that the WHO has not yet observed the new coronavirus Some seasonal trends are exhibited in temperate regions, as it spreads throughout the year.

However, the new crown may form some kind of seasonal pattern like the flu, "but the situation has not developed to that point yet."

  He said that people are currently continuing to study new vaccines, and are committed to developing vaccines that can not only prevent severe illness and death, but also prevent infection.

It is still too early to give definitive answers to questions such as whether the new crown will evolve into a seasonal or regional respiratory infection, and whether people will need to be vaccinated every year.

  (Source: Global Times-Global Network)