Omicron BA.5 is on the decline as emerging variants gain ground: CDC data

The US faces at least seven different versions of Covid-19 omicron as the country enters winter as health officials expect another wave of viral infections.

Follow data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published on Friday.

Omicron BA.5 has been split into several new but related variants including BQ.1, BQ.1.1 and BF.7. UK Health Security Agencyin a report earlier this monthsays that these three variants are proving a growth advantage over BA.5, the most contagious to date.

In the US, omicron BA.5 accounts for about 68% of all new infections, down from about 80% at the beginning of October. According to CDC data, BQ.1, BQ.1.1 and BF.7 are currently causing approximately 80% 17% of new infections.

About 3% of new infections are due to BA.2.75. and BA.2.75.2, which is related to the BA.2 omicron variant that caused the impact in spring cases but was ejected.

Scientists at Peking University in China discovered that omicron BA.2.75.2 and BQ.1.1 are best at immune evasion from previous BA.5 infections and certain antibody drugs. The study, published earlier in October, has not been peer-reviewed.

Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, said earlier this week that US health officials are keep a close eye on these variations because they are good at evading immunity first.

“The reason we’re monitoring them is because they’re more likely to be immune invasive, or they make many of our treatments ineffective,” says Jha. “Those are the two main things that caught our attention.”

But Jha said the new omicron booster that the US began rolling out last month will provide better protection than the first-generation vaccine against these emerging variants. The BA.5 targeted boosters and emerging variants are all omicrons and most are down from the BA.5.

Jha urges all Americans who qualify to get the new boosters on Halloween so they get full protection for Thanksgiving as family holiday get-togethers kick in.

But scientists at Peking University say the immune evasion capabilities of variants such as BA.2.75.2 and BQ.1.1 could mean that BA.5 booster shots will not provide the ability to do so. broad enough protection.

It’s unclear how much more effective the boosters will prove in the real world. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the injections without direct human data, relying instead on clinical trials from a similar injection developed on top of the original version. of omicrons, BA.1.

Pfizer and BioNTech on Thursday publish the first human data from their BA.5 photo. They triggered a significant boost to the immune system against omicron BA.5 in a laboratory study that looked at blood samples from adults 18 years of age and older, the companies said.


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