BQ.1.1 is the most immune-evasive COVID variant yet. It’s coming sizzling hot in the U.S.
The team incorporates more than 11% of COVID cases, according to recent projections released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency hadn’t recorded the variants until then because they were estimated to comprise less than 1% of those spreading. Once, they had been reported under parent kin BA.5.
Merged, the two are less than one portion point away from taking the No. 2 spot in the nation, presently held by BA.4.6, estimated to comprise 12.2% of cases. Cases of leading variant BA.5 are on the downfall, estimated to comprise less than 70% of cases as of Friday.
When you have variants like that, you look at what their rate of increase is as a relative proportion of the variants, and this has a pretty worrisome doubling time,” Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist and the president’s chief medical adviser, informed CBS News on Friday.
BQ.1.1 is increasing in New York, believed by experts to be a forerunner state due to its volume of incoming international visitors and powerful sequencing capabilities. It’s also growing in European countries like Germany, where Oktoberfest festivities may have served as super-spreader events.
Together with XBB—a crossbreed of two Omicron strains spiking in Singapore and Bangladesh—BQ.1.1 is believed to be the most immune-evasive new variant. BQ.1.1’s extreme immune evasiveness sets it up to be the major driver of the next U.S. wave in the weeks forward.
Scientists won’t know to what extent it challenges vaccines, if it does, until it reaches 30%-50% of cases somewhere. It’s not going to wipe out vaccine effectiveness, though it could but a cut in defense against hospitalizations and death.
BQ.1.1 is already known to flee antibody immunity, causing useless monoclonal antibody treatments used in high-risk individuals with COVID. According to an analysis last month out of Peking University’s Biomedical Pioneering Innovation Center in China, BQ.1.1 exits immunity from Bebtelovimab, the last monoclonal antibody drug effective on all variants, as well as Evusheld, which works on some. Along with variants CA.1 and XBB, BQ.1.1 could lead to additional unbearable symptoms.
The promising news, if there is any, concerning BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 is that new Omicron boosters will basically provide some defense against them because they were designed to tackle close relative BA.5.
BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 were first noted in the second week of July, according to a risk assessment from the Ontario, Canada, public health department. It rates the risk level of improved transmissibility, reinfection, and reduced vaccine efficacy against infection as high, with a heightened degree of uncertainty.
Some professionals predict a coming surge of infections that will swell this month and rise in late December or early January.
Cases documented to the CDC sat at just under 38,000 a day. With testing at all-time lows, it’s generally accepted that cases numbers reported to the agency aren’t accurate.
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