BREAKING! COVID-19 News: New Recombinant Variant XBL with Spike Mutation F486P Identified In Malaysia! Locals Nicknaming It The ‘Hantu Besar’ Variant!
COVID-19 News - XBL Recombinant Variant - Malaysia - Hantu Besar Jan 09, 2023 5 months ago
: Yet another worrisome variant has been identified, this time in Malaysia in the last 48 hours. Virologist and variant trackers have designated the name XBL for this new recombinant variant that is believed to involve the variants XBB.1 and BA.2.75.
The XBL variant is actually a XBB.1 variant where part of ORF1a replaced with protein segments from BA.2.75 variant.
The XBB.1 donor is a sibling lineage of XBB.1.5, defined by S:F486P, A20379G and C28312T.
The XBB.1 donor is not designated XBB.1.5 because it is missing the mutation T17124C.
It not yet clear if this new recombinant variant emerged in Malaysia or in the Middle East but it has been identified in the Malaysia and also in other travelers with travel history to Malaysia including a returning Singaporean and Japanese traveler.
As a result of having the F486P mutation which is also found on the XBB.1.5 recombinant variant, it is believed to be also more immune evasive and also more transmissible and infective as a previous reserach has shown that the F486P mutation enhances the variant binding capacity to the ACE2 receptor.
However, details about its pathogenesis, virulence and even about the degree of immune evasiveness is not yet known at this point.
It does however seem to be gaining fast in spread as more similar sequencings are fast popping up.
Local Malaysians and even Malaysian scientists are quickly nicknaming the XBL variant as the ‘Hantu Besar’ variant which in Malay means the ‘Big Devil’ or 'Large Demon' as they do not want the Western variants trackers and virologist to designate it a nickname after some Western monsters or mythological creatures as what was done in the case of the XBB.1.5 variant that is now called the Kraken variant, after a mythological nordic sea monster though the variant originated from the United States and also all the other variants and sub-lineages as that have been designated various other nicknames by a leading Canadian variant tracker on twitter and others.
Despite the Malay nickname, the ‘Hantu Besar’ variant is not expected to cause disease severity or deaths thought it might lead to increased loads of infections and reinfections and only affect those in the
vulnerable groups more badly (ie the aged, the young, the obese, the immunocompromised, those with existing comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, heart and kidney issues etc and also those with certain genetic mutations).
The Chinese variants BF.7.14 and BA.5.2.48 are the more worrisome variants to watch out for at the moment.Already various COVID-19 News
coverages are showing how bad the situation is in China at the moment.
Also, it should be noted that all the current variants are evolving and mutating at a very rapid phase and there are lots more of new worrisome variants, sub-lineages and recombinant variants emerging constantly such as the latest BB.1.9.1, XBB.6.1, BA.2.3.22, CK.1.2, CM.11, BL.6 and DS.1 variants and sub-lineages.
The mythological 'Hantu Besar' Or 'Big Demon'
Thailand Medical News will provide more updates on the XBL or ‘Hantu Besar’ variant as more details and study findings emerge.
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