what do we know about these new Omicron subvariants?

XBB and BQ.1.1, two Omicron subvariants under close scrutiny since their appearance. And for good reason, they are the most resistant to antibodies known to date!

The active circulation of the Omicron has given rise to an impressive number of sub-variants of the latter, all of which, according to a preprint, have the capacity to replace it. ” Such rapid and simultaneous emergence of several varieties with enormous growth advantages is unprecedented. write Yunlong Cao and colleagues, scientists at Beijing University and authors of the preprint BioRvix. Two of them are in the center of attention: BQ.1.1 and XBB.

XBB and BQ.1.1, master variants of immune evasion

The genetic sequence of BQ.1.1 was first shared on August 26, 2022. This Omicron subvariant, whose full name is B.1.1.529.5.3.1.1.1.1.1.1, was taken from a traveler at a Japanese airport, who arrived from Egypt. In all likelihood, BQ.1.1 would have originated in Nigeria. Since then he has toured the world. In France, 91 sequences corresponding to BQ.1.1 were detected, i.e. a prevalence of 0.073%. XBB is the result of the recombination of BJ.1 and BA.2.75, two subvariants of Omicron. First identified on September 12, 2022 in Singapore, it has since been detected in Bangladesh and the United States, including New York state.

So far only the preview BioRvix tells us about some of the possibilities in these two variants. Laboratory tests to assess their ability to resist therapeutic antibodies indicate that both are resistant to most available drugs. The antibodies present in the plasma of people vaccinated with CoronaVac – the study conducted in China, it is this vaccine formula that was preferred – do not make it better. The results indicate that XBB especially shows ” the most extreme immune evasion abilities “, comparable to that observed for SARS-CoV-1. Researchers have not replicated these experiments with plasma from people vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna or…

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