A new Omicron subvariant called XBB.1.5 is detected in US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that around 40% of new coronavirus infections are caused by an omicron subvariant called XBB. 1.5.

According to the report, 75% of confirmed cases in the north of the country are caused by the new variant. The news raised concerns about the probability of a new wave of Covid-19 infections after the December holidays.

Although scientists are evaluating the origin of the strain, the truth is that it is unknown where it came from or if it is just as infectious as the other Omicron variants.

The director of the CDC’s Division of Coronavirus, Barbara Mahon, stated that although hospitalizations have increased throughout the country, a disproportionate number of confinements have not been documented.

A new strain of Omicron appears

Several scientists and health professionals have expressed their concern about the new strain, according to a NBC News report, they think that the XBB.1.5 variant could be effective by circumventing antibodies and defenses that they had developed from the COVID-19 vaccine.

Since 2021, some Omicron variants were detected in the country, including the BQ.1.1 and BQ.1 subvariants, while the new strain XBB. 1.5 is directly related to the omicron XBB variant.

While currently, 44% of infections in the country are of the XBB and XBB.1.5 variants, displacing the other omicron subvariants.

What do the studies say?

According to WHO, the XBB variant has been detected in a total of 70 countries, mostly affecting Asian countries such as India and Singapore.

Studies carried out on the XBB strain show that the new strain is capable of breaking through the defenses of vaccines, which could cause people exposed to the virus to become sick or reinfected.

“It is clear that there are evasive immune properties of XBB. That has been shown both in laboratory studies and seen clinically in cases and hospitalizations,” Isaach Bogoch, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, told NBC News.

But do vaccines work?

The American immunologist, Rick Bright, commented that, although in Singapore there was a high number of infections by the XBB variant, the truth is that hospitalizations or the number of deaths did not increase.

“We think it is because a larger population of people in Singapore have been vaccinated with the latest vaccines and boosters,” he added.

However, it is not the same for the United States, where only 37.5% of the population over 65 years has received a vaccine booster, according to CDC data.

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