A leading immunologist says the latest variant of Covid-19 transmits well, but there's no evidence to suggest it's any more severe.
Professor Paul Moynagh from Maynooth University, says the XBB 1.5 strain - a version of Omicron - is likely to spread here, as cases increase in the US.
Fewer than five cases of the new variant were detected in Ireland, in the month leading up to Christmas, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
But Professor Moynagh, says there's no evidence that this strain is any more lethal, "It's the sub-lineages of the Omicron, so we're still talking about sort of the omicron variant, but slightly different."
"It's been detected in over 30 countries and is very prevalent at the moment in the US", he said.
"So certainly it transmits really well, but thankfully there's no evidence that suggests that it's more lethal."