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Friday, January 27, 2023

CNBC: Highly elusive Omicron variant increasingly dominant in US, scientists say

Scientists say the COVID-19 variant, Omicron XBB.1.5, is becoming increasingly dominant in the US because it is highly resistant and appears to be more efficient at binding to cells than related subtypes.

According to data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, XBB.1.5 now accounts for about 41% of new cases nationwide in the US, nearly doubling its prevalence over the past week.

The subvariant more than doubled as a percentage of cases each week until 24 December. In the past week, it nearly doubled to 21.7% prevalence.

Scientists and public health officials have been closely monitoring the XBB family of subvariants for months because the strains carry multiple mutations that could make COVID-19 vaccines, including the Omicron booster, less effective and more likely to cause infections. even more important.

XBB was first identified in India in August. It quickly became dominant there as well as in Singapore. It has since evolved into a family of subtypes, including XBB.1 and XBB.1.5.

Johns Hopkins University virologist Andrew Pekoz said XBB.1.5 differs from its family members because it has an additional mutation that makes it better bind to cells.

“The virus needs to bind tightly to be more efficient at entering cells, and this may help make the virus a little more efficient at infecting people,” Pekoz said.

Yunlong Richard Cao, a scientist and assistant professor at Peking University, posted data on Twitter on Tuesday indicating that XBB.1.5 not only evokes protective antibodies as effectively as the XBB.1 variant, which is highly protective. was developed immunologically, but it also has better binding to cells through a dominant receptor.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in China’s Wuhan, as protests continue over strict COVID restrictions in the country.

In a study published in the journal Cell earlier this month, scientists at Columbia University warned that an increase in subvariants such as XBB “could further reduce the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines and result in a sudden increase in infections, As well as re-infection.

The XBB subvariant is also resistant to Avushield, a cocktail of antibodies that many people with weakened immune systems rely on to protect against Covid infection because they do not produce a strong response to vaccines. The scientists described the resistance of antibodies to XBB subvariants from vaccination and infection as “dangerous”.

The scientists found that the XBB subvariants were even more effective at dodging protection from Omicron boosters than the BQ subvariants, which are also highly immune evasive.

Dr. David Ho, author of the Columbia study, agreed with other scientists that XBB.1.5 is likely to have an evolutionary advantage because it binds to cells better than its XBB relatives. Ho also noted that XBB.1.5 is almost as immune to evasion as XBB and XBB.1, which were the two most resistant subvariants to protective antibodies against infection and vaccination until now.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is stepping down as chief medical adviser to the White House, previously said that the XBB subvariants reduce the protection that boosters provide against infection “many times over.”

Wu Zunyao, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control, declared on Thursday that the wave of COVID-19 infections in the country has already “reached its peak” in Beijing, Tianjin (northeast) and Chengdu (central).

“You can expect some protection, but not optimal protection,” Fauci told reporters during a White House briefing in November.

Fauci said he was encouraged by the case of Singapore, which had a large increase in XBb infections but not hospitalizations at the same rate. Pekosz said XBB.1.5, in combination with holiday travel, could lead to a surge in cases in the US, but said boosters appear to prevent severe disease.

“It appears that the vaccine, with the bivalent boost of these variants, provides sustained protection against hospitalization,” Pekoz said. “This really emphasizes the need for a boost, especially in vulnerable populations, to provide continued protection against severe disease with these new variants.”

Health officials in the US have repeatedly called on the elderly in particular to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and to receive treatment with the antiviral paxlovid if they have an advanced infection.

This article was originally published in English by Spencer Kimball For our affiliate network CNBC.com. Enter for more information from CNBC here,

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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