New covid variant “nightmare”: arrives from Singapore

  • Omicron Mutation Shows Increased Antibody Resistance than others detected so far

For at least two weeks, cases of COVID-19 continue to grow and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirms what experts have been warning for days: the appearance of a new wave infections” in the coming weeks & rdquor; due to new viral subvariants, BQ.1 and BQ.2, identified in different places. “We are carefully monitoring new variants of the virus.” but “it’s faster than we can be in the adoption of vaccines”, admitted the head of vaccines at the EMA on the 26th, Marco Cavaleriwhich confirms that the appearance of new mutations offers new escape routes to the virus.

At least half a dozen versions of the virus are competing to become the next dominant strain in the United States, but they are all part of the same family tree. “They are all descendants of omicron,” Dr. Albert Ko, a physician and epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, explained to the American newspaper “The New York Times”.

Although each subvariant has slightly different mutations, none of them yet seem to create significant waves, as the delta and omicron variants did when they first appeared, Ko said. Here’s what the experts know so far about the new subvariants and what their mutations may mean for recurrent infections, symptoms, case spikes and treatment options.

Greater resistance

But there is one that is of great concern and that the EMA is also following closely: the new XBB subvariant, which is spreading rapidly in Asia and has already been detected in some EU countries. It is a variant product of a combination between two subvariants They shared genetic material. the XBB He was baptized “griffin”, in Spanish “griffon”, a mythological creature with the body of a lion and the wings and head of an eagle. It seems to have supplanted the BA.2.75 Centauro, detected last summer, in evasion capacity.

Experts call this variant “nightmare” because it shows a increased antibody resistance than other variants and subvariants detected to date, as noted by Canadian evolutionary biologist T. Ryan Gregory, a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario (Canada).

The XBB variant is responsible for the increase in covid-19 cases in Singapore and in other countries of South Asia, such as India.

cocktail of variants

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At the same time, they circulate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English), the BA.5 subvariant, which favored the wave of covid-19 in the summer and which continues to cause a little less more than half of infections in the United States. But two other sub-variants are developing rapidly and should soon exceed BA.5: BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. Until the 28th day last, the BQ.1 variant accounted for 14% of covid-19 infections in the United States, while BQ.1.1 – also known as “Hellhound”– accounted for 13.1%. Finally, the variant called BQ.4.6, has also gained ground since August and has represented 9.6% of covid infections in the United States to date, according to information collected by ‘The New York Times’.

How much should I care about these new subvariants? The evolution of new variants of the coronavirus is nothing new. “We’ve been through this before, with the flu, for example,” Ko told the New York newspaper. “Viruses and pathogens are constantly trying to adapt and escape the immune pressure we put on them.”

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