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An infectious new Covid variant is doing the rounds – here are the symptoms to look out for

‘Arcturus’, or XBB.1.16, is a subvariant of Omicron

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson
Features Editor, UK
A close up covid 19 cell
Photograph: Shutterstock
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We know you’re all tired of hearing and reading about it, but Covid is still very much a thing, whether you like it or not. Now health officials are warning about an infectious new variant that is driving a surge of positive cases.

The new variant is called ‘Arcturus’, or XBB.1.16, and is a subvariant of Omicron. Dr Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organisation’s Covid technical lead, told The Sun that the strain has ‘been in circulation for a few months’.

Read more: The unexpected new Covid symptom you should be looking out for

She added: ‘We haven’t seen a change in severity in individuals or in populations, but that’s why we have these systems in place.

‘It has one additional mutation in the spike protein which in lab studies shows increased infectivity as well as potential increased pathogenicity.’

While there isn’t much official data about the new variant yet, as an off-shoot of Omicron, we can expect many of its early symptoms to be similar to previous versions of the strain. 

What are the most common Covid symptoms?

According to the Zoe symptom app, these are the most common Omicron symptoms right now:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (mild or severe)
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat

Around five million people in the UK are eligible for a spring Covid vaccine to help protect them against the virus. Find out more on the NHS website

ICYMI: This is the best place to work in the UK (and no, it’s not London).

Plus: England is getting four new official wild swimming spots for the summer.

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