BQ.1 COVID-19 variant increasingly prevalent in US infectious disease: CDC

(The Hill) – A new variant of the Omicron subspecies of coronavirus is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

CDC data show BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants each accounted for 5.7% of the total number of cases in the country over the past week. The BA.5 variant, which has dominated US cases for months, accounted for 67.9%, down from a late August peak that accounted for almost 90% of all cases in the country.

The BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants have become increasingly prevalent in recent weeks, accounting for the most cases after the BA.5 and BA.4.6 variants.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Biden, told CBS News: interview Despite the declining number of cases and hospitalizations, people should be “on the lookout” for new variants.

“Once you get a subspecies like that, you see their growth rate as a relative percentage of the subspecies, which has a pretty nasty doubling time,” he said.

Fauci said he fears later variants may be more effective at circumventing drugs scientists have developed to help patients manage the virus.

“That’s why people are concerned about BQ.1.1, both because of its doubling time and because it appears to be escaping important monoclonal antibodies,” he said.

Cases and hospitalizations Dropped Since July, the number of deaths has decreased since August. But health officials are warning the public to expect cases to rise as winter approaches.

The Food and Drug Administration Licensed Pfizer and Moderna Update Booster Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine to Address Omicron Subvariant. A booster is a bivalent vaccine. That is, it contains an mRNA vaccine for the original strain of coronavirus and a vaccine for another strain.

This booster targets BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. BQ.1 COVID-19 variant increasingly prevalent in US infectious disease: CDC

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