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Coronavirus. XBB.1.5 – an omicron variant – could drive a new wave of COVID-19

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A new variant of the coronavirus, XBB.1.5, is quickly becoming the dominant strain in the US. It accounts for more than 70 percent of COVID-19 cases in the Northeastern United States, writes the Washington Post.

World Health ORganisation (WHO) recognized XBB.1.5 as the “most infectious” variant of the omicron. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that infection rose from just two percent of cases in early December to more than 27 percent in the first week of January.

XBB.1.5. replicates faster

Citing its sources, the Washington Post explains that a strong mix of mutations facilitates the XBB.1.5 variant. widespread spread of the virus. This includes people who have been previously vaccinated or infected.

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– XBB didn’t evolve because humans were vaccinated. (…) It evolved because people were infected with many viruses at the same time – assessed Vaughn Cooper, professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Pittsburgh.

In the opinion of virologists, XBB.1.5 does not appear to be more effective at evading antibodies than its predecessors. However, it replicates faster. Authorities are urging people to take the vaccine against omicron subvariants.

Vaccinations still remain the best, safe protection against SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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