The Spreading Rapidly New COVID-19 Subvariant XBB Relates to a ‘New Class’ of Omicron.
Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have dominated COVID-19 cases in the United States over the past few months. However, a new class of COVID subvariants is already emerging, and one, in particular, is receiving a lot of attention. It goes by the name of XBB, or Gryphon, and there’s a chance it will surpass all other systems.
What exactly is the XBB COVID variant?
Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York, adds that XBB is one of the “new class” of Omicron variations that are currently spreading quickly. He lists these as BQ.1.1, BQ.1, BQ.1.3, BA.2.3.20, and XBB.
Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, notes that the XBB strain of Omicron is a hybrid of two strains of the BA.2 type of the bacteria. He continues, “It’s spreading effectively in Singapore right now.”
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health, the variant was discovered for the first time in India in August 2022 and has since been found in more than 17 nations, including Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, India, Japan, and the United States.
According to a pre-print study by researchers in China, XBB is expected to have the strongest capacity to evade antibody defenses of these recently revealed COVID variants.
The novel Omicron strains, and specifically XBB, were described in that study as “the most antibody-evasive strain examined, significantly exceeding BA.5 and nearing SARS-CoV-1 level.” If you’re not aware of it, SARS-CoV-1 is the coronavirus strain that causes SARS, a respiratory virus that can result in serious disease.
Meaning that, in contrast to earlier strains of COVID-19, the vaccine and having previously had COVID-19 are not believed to provide as much protection against XBB. According to the pre-print study, antibody medications like Evusheld and bebtelovimab may also not be very efficient against XBB. However, they will be “imperfect against avoiding infection,” according to Dr. Russo.
But don’t stress out. It’s crucial to understand that vaccine protection is not all or nothing when it comes to evasion, according to Dr. Adalja. “Vaccine protection against what matters most—severe disease—remains intact even with immune-evasive variations.”
symptoms of the XBB variant.
So far, its symptoms appear to be comparable to COVID-19 symptoms in general. The following are some examples, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
· Fever or chills
· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
· Sore throat
· Muscle or body aches
· New loss of taste or smell
· Nausea or vomiting
· Congestion or runny nose
The XBB sub-variant has how much contagion?
XBB is regarded as being extremely contagious, just like other Omicron strains. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health, the variant currently accounts for 54% of COVID-19 cases there, up from 22% the week prior.
XBB is “at least as transmissible as currently circulating variations,” according to Singapore’s Ministry of Health, but it also states that “there is no indication that XBB causes more severe illness.”
The XBB subvariant will peak when?
XBB currently has a number of unanswered questions. According to CDC data, BA.5 and BA.4.6 continue to be the most prevalent variations in the United States despite the fact that it has been found there.
According to Dr. Adalja, additional varieties are also beginning to proliferate. It is unknown which, if any, will supplant BA.4.6 and BA.5 in the United States. It’s uncertain if it—or another related variation like BQ.1.1—will become prevalent in the United States, but it’s likely to spread there to some extent, according to him..
According to Dr. Schaffner, the emergence of XBB and related variations is causing “some concern.” It’s critical to keep an eye on what transpires over the coming weeks, he asserts.
However, some of the information might have changed since it was last updated due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s rapid evolution and the scientific community’s growing understanding of the unique coronavirus. Although we make every effort to keep the latest updates, we encourage you to use the online tools offered by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health agency.
Frequently ask Questions.
What are the new omicron variants?
There are still currently circulating omicron subvariants such as BQ.1.1, BQ.1, BA.5, BF.7, and XBB.
What is the new variant of the virus?
As of now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified Omicron as a variant of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This variant spreads faster than the original COVID-19 virus and the delta variant.
Have COVID symptoms changed?
“Our study has shown that symptoms from COVID-19 have changed over two years of the pandemic as different variants of the virus have become dominant,” said Professor Paul Elliott, Director of the REACT program. This is against the backdrop of shifting immunity as a result of prior infection and vaccination.