These two new COVID variants could drive the next surge. Here's why they're causing surprise and concern

Concern is rapidly growing over emerging omicron coronavirus variant BQ.1 and its sibling BQ.1.1, which experts say appear to be strong candidates for a winter surge in the U.S. and could knock the BA.5 variant out of its dominant spot.

The BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants, descendants of BA.5, were first identified in mid-July, according to UC Berkeley infectious disease expert John Swartzberg. They were first detected in the U.S. just a month ago and each rose quickly to account for 5.7% of cases sequenced nationwide for the week ending Oct. 15, according to updated estimates from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s variant tracker.

Meanwhile, BA.5, which has dominated the U.S. coronavirus picture since the summer, has been on the decline, dropping from its Aug. 20 height of 86.5% of sequenced cases to 67.9% on Oct. 15

BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are worrisome because they both appear to be more transmissible, and could possibly be more immune evasive than earlier variants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.