December 9, 2022

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New Omicron subtype XBB “probably the most immune-evasive corona variant”

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including: Martina Liebl

Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus is evolving (code photo): New Omicron subtype XXB is more sophisticated. © Fig

The new Omicron subvariant XXB caused a rapid increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations in Singapore. XXB may become a problem in this country.

MUNICH – Everywhere in the world people dive again and again Corona virus– On Variations. Some disappear again very quickly. Others, on the other hand, are spreading at breakneck speed, such as a new corona variant called XXB. This sub variant comes from Omicron– Tax. XXB was first detected in India in August 2022. XXB has now appeared in 17 countries.

Omicron subvariant XXB: Singapore expects peak of corona wave in mid-November

Omicron subtype XXB is currently driving Singapore’s coronavirus infection numbers, according to the country’s Ministry of Health. MOH) in its most recent management report (October 15, 2022). XXB now dominates. The rate of sub-variance now stands at 54 per cent (previous week: 22 per cent). According to the report, the then-prevailing Omicron variant PA.5 was pushed to a 21 percent share. According to the MOH report, Singapore expects the XXB infection wave to peak in mid-November 2022. Hospitals are already preparing for the corona wave. Beds are increased, stable patients are discharged or transferred.

Is the new Omicron subtype XXB dangerous?

According to some experts, XXB is the most contagious to date. Researchers fear that corona drugs will become ineffective.

“It could be immune evasion,” said Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The Daily Beast. MOH Singapore is making the characterization of XXB very cautious: there are indications that XXB may lead to an increase in re-infections. There are insufficient data yet to indicate that XXB causes severe courses. But because people’s natural defenses against infection can wane over time, booster shots with vaccines, especially Moderna and Biotech/Pfizer’s adapted BA.4 and BA.5 vaccines, are critical.

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A booster with modified BA.4 and BA.5 vaccine works well against XXB. As is well known, vaccination cannot prevent all infections or relapses. But a booster increases protection against a severe or fatal course of the disease.

XXB: The most important thing about the Omicron subtype

  • Omicron subtype XXB was first detected in August 2022.
  • XXB contains seven mutations in the spike protein. Therefore, it is difficult for the immune system to recognize XXB. The omicron subvariant can easily enter our body cells by tricking antibodies.
  • XXB may be more infectious than previously circulating Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus variants. There are insufficient data yet to indicate that XXB causes severe courses.
  • According to experts, Moderna and Biotech/Pfizer’s adapted BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron vaccines protect against acute courses.
Coronavirus Sars-CoV-2: Omicron subtype XXB is highly sophisticated.
Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus is evolving (code photo): New Omicron subtype XXB is more sophisticated. © Fig

Will the Omicron sub-variant XXB establish itself in Europe and Germany?

XXB is currently spreading particularly rapidly in Singapore. On the other hand, in Europe, another Omicron sub variant seems to be on the way to success: the Omicron BA.5 subline called BQ.1.1.

According to the latest RKI Corona Weekly report (as of October 13, 2022), “BA.5 sublines BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, although still rare, have increasingly been detected in Germany” in the past few weeks.

According to Cornelius Romer, bioinformatician and corona variant expert, the next few weeks should show whether BQ.1.1 will cause a new wave in Europe and North America by the end of November.

Corona in Germany: Omicron subtypes XXB and BQ.1 are under surveillance

It was initially unclear whether XXB or BQ.1 would win. “There may be close competition between Sars-CoV-2 variants BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 in the next few months,” writes Moritz Gerstung from the German Cancer Research Center. Twitter. “Globally, BQ.1.1 grew 12% faster than BA.5, from around 10% in Belgium to 15% in Germany.

– XBB.1 grew 20% faster than BA.5 in Singapore, ~13% in the US but only ~7% in Denmark”. Currently there is still uncertainty about XXB’s growth rate, the modeler explains on his Twitter thread. BQ.1.1 in Europe and North America is widely used and hence this variant is likely to retain a high share.

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It does not matter which of the two candidates wins. The number of corona cases is increasing in Germany. That Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Tuesday (October 18, 2022) More than 150,000 new infections. Clinics are already in range – and the Omikron variant BA.5 is “only” circulating in this country. (ml)