Kingdom detects first case of the new XAY.2 variant
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Kingdom detects first case of the new XAY.2 variant

Yong: Next wave likely in June
Yong: Next wave likely in June

The Department of Medical Sciences yesterday confirmed the first case in Thailand of XAY.2, a Delta-Omicron recombinant variant, one of nearly 350 known cases around the world.

The department's deputy chief Dr Banlang Uppapong said the person who caught XAY.2 did not experience serious illness and has already recovered from the disease.

There are no reports of infections among people who were close to the patient.

There are 344 reported cases worldwide of XAY.2, which is a variant combination among Delta's AY.45 and Omicron's BA.4/5, the department said.

Dr Banlang said initial information on XAY.2 have shown the variant is not severe, adding that so far, vaccines have shown to provide protection against it.

"Immunity levels, whether from the vaccine or natural infections caused by any of the Covid-19 variants, will decrease after six months. So I would like to recommend senior citizens and those with compromised health to get a booster shot every four months," he said.

In Thailand, the majority of sub-variants are Omicron's BN.1.3, which is Omicron's sub-variant BA.2.75 lineage that has the capacity to escape immunity and speedy transmission similar to XBB.1.5, which is currently found widely in the United States currently.

There has not been any detection of XBB.1.5 in Thailand as yet.

Dr Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, said via Facebook that a new variant could spring up anywhere in the world.

Fortunately, he said, there is now a well-established surveillance system worldwide to monitor and decode new variants.

Dr Yong said the level of antibodies against Covid among the Thai population is at 96%, whether it's from the vaccine or natural infections.

One-third of the child population has had asymptomatic cases, he said.

Dr Yong said that natural infections could create better immunity than the vaccine because the nature-led immunity could match with an active variant outbreak.

"The infection rate will steadily decline when we enter summer," he added. "The next round of outbreak will see probably be in June. It is now in an outbreak cycle, so the vaccine should be given annually before the rainy season, like the flu vaccine."

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