Dominant Omicron BQ variants, low-level circulating XBB

An individual receives a check for coronavirus illness (COVID-19) because the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to unfold in Manhattan, New York Metropolis, U.S., December 22, 2021.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Subvariants of the omicron BQ coronavirus have develop into dominant in the US as individuals collect and journey for the Thanksgiving vacation, placing individuals with compromised immune programs at better danger.

BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are inflicting 57 % of recent infections in the US, based on information launched Friday by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The once-dominant omicron subvariant BA.5 now makes up only a fifth of recent Covid circumstances.

The BQ subvariants are extra immune and presumably proof against main antibody medicine, reminiscent of Evusheld and bebtelovimab, utilized by individuals with compromised immune programs, based on the Nationwide Institutes of Well being. This contains sufferers present process organ transplants and chemotherapy for most cancers.

There are at present no substitutes for these medicine. President Joe Biden, in an October speech, instructed individuals with compromised immune programs they need to see their docs and take further precautions this winter.

“New variants may render some present protections for the immunocompromised ineffective. Sadly, which means chances are you’ll be at particular danger this winter,” Biden stated.

The XBB subvariant can be circulating at a low degree proper now, inflicting about 3% of recent infections. Dr. Anthony Fauci, in a White Home briefing earlier this week, stated that XBB is much more immune evasive than the BQ subvariants.

Fauci stated the brand new boosters, designed in opposition to BA.5 omicrons, most likely aren’t as efficient in opposition to XBB infections and gentle illness. However the photographs are supposed to guard in opposition to critical sickness, he stated. Singapore has seen a spike in XBB circumstances, however there hasn’t been a big enhance in hospitalizations, he added.

Moderna and Pfizer stated final week that their boosters induce an immune response in opposition to BQ.1.1, which is a descendant of the BA.5 subvariant.

Fauci, in his press convention this week, stated public well being officers imagine there may be sufficient immunity from vaccination, boosting and an infection to stop a repeat of the unprecedented Covid surge that occurred final winter when it arrived. for the primary time omicron.