According to the most recent report, a new version of Omicron has caught on in the US Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A sub-variant of Omicron, named XBB.1.5, has raised concerns about another potential wave of Covid cases following the busy holiday travel season.
The CDC predicted Friday that 40% of confirmed US Covid cases are caused by the XBB.1.5 strain, up from 20% a week ago. In the Northeast, about 75% of confirmed cases are reported to be XBB.1.5.
It’s not yet clear where this version of Omicron came from, but it’s spreading rapidly here. There is no sign of it Causes very serious illness than any other omicron virus, Dr. Barbara Mahon, director of the CDC’s Division of Coronavirus and Other Respiratory Viruses, told NBC News.
Mahon said that while overall Covid hospitalizations are increasing across the country, regions such as the Northeast, which have seen the highest levels of the new strain, have not seen a disproportionate increase in hospitalizations.
“We’re seeing an overall rise in hospitals across the country,” he said. “In areas with high XBB.1.5 they don’t show up.”
The seven-day average of daily Covid hospitalizations reached 42,140 on Friday, a 4.2% increase from two weeks ago. According to an NBC News account. The seven-day average of daily intensive care unit admissions also rose to 5,125 per day, up 9% from two weeks ago.
There are still many unknowns about the latest subvariant Other Forms of OmicronMahon said.
Other scientists worry that XB.1.5 is still better at looking at the antibodies we’ve developed, including the original BA.1 and the more recent ones, from previous infections with Covid vaccines and the different types of omicrons that have spread since last December. BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 subcategories.
XBB.1.5 is a cousin omicron XBB variantThis is a recombination of the Omicron BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 subtypes.
Combined, XBB and XBB.1.5 make up 44% of the cases in the US, outpacing other versions of Omicron.
According to the World Health Organization, XBB has been detected in at least 70 countries, and infections increased in parts of Asia, including India and Singapore, in October.
Studies conducted in the laboratory have found that XBB is capable of evading antibodies from previous Covid infections or vaccines, meaning that if someone has been exposed to the virus, it is more likely that someone will become sick or re-infected and show symptoms.
“It is clear that XPP has immunosuppressive properties,” said Dr. Isaac Bokoch said. “This has been proven in laboratory studies and seen clinically in cases and hospitals.”
Because population immunity in the U.S. is high — through infection, vaccination, or both — Bokoch et al believe that even if cases begin to rise significantly, there won’t be a dramatic spike in hospitalizations or deaths as seen in previous waves. .
Antibody studies don’t tell the whole story. Other parts of the immune system can protect against the virus and Covid vaccines should be effective in preventing severe illness and death from the virus, the evidence suggests.
“We could certainly have a wave, but compared to previous waves before we had this level of hybrid immunity, it’s much less likely to be dangerous or overwhelming to a health care system,” Bokoch said.
Do covid vaccines work against XBB.1.5?
For encouraging signs, Rick Bright, an American immunologist and former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority BARDA, pointed to Singapore’s experience with XBB.
There was an increase in cases, but “we didn’t see the associated big surges in hospitalizations and deaths,” Bright said.
“We think this is because more of the Singaporean population has been vaccinated with the latest vaccines and boosters,” he said.
Unfortunately, this can be a problem in the US.
The most important thing, experts agree, is to get a booster shot Two types of vaccines To strengthen your immune system against new subtypes.
“We’re not in 2020, but people still need to take this seriously and protect themselves,” Mahon said, adding that getting the updated Covid vaccine is especially important for the over-65s, a high-risk group. i saw Very low booster boom recently.
A study published last week New England Journal of Medicine It was found that New covid boosters Improved antibody responses to several subtypes of Omicron, including the XBB variant from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
At the same time the new booster — called bipolar because it targets Omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5 Associate Professor Mehul Sudar said the original coronavirus — not perfect — offered additional protection to what was seen in previously available original or monovalent boosters. Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University and author of the report.
“With monovalent boosters your neutralizing antibodies aren’t as potent against variants, but a bivalent booster makes sure it’s a bit better,” he said. “It’s not going to blow your socks off, but it’s great, and it says bivalent boosters are working the way they’re supposed to.”
The new XBB.1.5 variant was not examined in the report, but Sudar predicted that its immunosuppressive properties would be in the same range as XBB. He expects the bivalent booster to increase protection against the latest version.