Omicron BQ Covid Variations, Which Pose a Hazard to Those With Impaired Immune Systems, Currently Predominate in the United States

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Last Updated on November 27, 2022 by Bitfinsider

As people congregate and travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, the omicron BQ coronavirus subvariants have risen to prominence in the United States, placing those with impaired immune systems at greater danger.

BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are responsible for 57% of new infections in the United States, according to statistics published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once predominant, the omicron BA.5 subvariant now accounts for less than one-fifth of new Covid cases.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the BQ subvariants are more immunological evasive and likely resistant to major antibody drugs, such as Evusheld and bebtelovimab, used by persons with weakened immune systems. Patients undergoing organ transplants and cancer treatment are included.

There are presently no alternatives to these medications. In an October speech, Vice President Joe Biden advised individuals with impaired immune systems to visit their physicians and take additional measures this winter.

“New variations might render certain current safeguards useless for immunocompromised individuals. This unfortunately puts you at a greater danger this winter,” Biden warned.

The XBB subvariant is also now circulating at a low rate, causing around 3% of new infections. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the White House, stated in a briefing on Tuesday that XBB is much more immune-evasive than the BQ subvariants.

Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that the new boosters targeted against omicron BA.5 may not be as effective against infection and mild sickness caused by XBB. He stated, however, that the vaccinations should protect against serious sickness. He stated that while there was an increase in XBB cases in Singapore, there was not a significant increase in hospitalizations.

Last week, Moderna and Pfizer announced that their boosters elicit an immune response against BQ.1.1, a descendant of the BA.5 subvariant.

Fauci stated in a press briefing that public health officials believe there is sufficient immunity from vaccination, boosting, and infection to prevent a repeat of the unprecedented Covid outbreak that occurred when omicron first arrived last winter.

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