Variants of COVID-19 XBB, BQ.1 spread in Europe, Asia; American scientists explain what to expect here
SAN FRANCISCO – Infectious disease experts are closely monitoring the many variants of COVID-19 that have led to a surge in cases in both Europe and Asia.
For several weeks, experts have noted a peak of COVID cases in Europe and Asia. Most point to the XBB and BQ.1 variants. Scientists from the USA believe that this is our alarming sign.
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“XBB is taking off very quickly in Singapore, where it has overtaken BA5,” he said Nadia RoanPh.D., and added, “Both are of great concern because they are highly transmissible.”
The CDC already attributes 5.7% of US cases to the BQ.1 variant and forty seven sequences to XBB according to the international research organization that tracks these strains.
How are they different from other strains? Gladstone Institute Senior Researcher Nadia Roan explains: “They’ve changed their surface protein in such a way that antibodies from a previous infection or vaccination don’t work as well against them. That’s why they’re so strongly transmitted.”
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Dr. Monica Gandy, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, thinks we’ll see more cases in the U.S., but she remains hopeful.
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“I would look at the UK. We saw an increase in cases about four weeks ago. A decrease, not a very high number of cases. Severe disease, hospitalizations have remained at the same level,” Dr Gandhi said.
Luz Pena: “What’s your prediction? What will the next wave of COVID-19 look like here?”
Dr. Monica Gandy: “I think we will see an increase in cases. This means mild infections. Now we have a panicked lull. Now we get more flu and respiratory syncytial virus. Then COVID will take over as the cause of mild infections. .”
Gandy doesn’t believe we’ll see an increase in hospitalizations in the U.S., but advises getting the latest booster equipped to fight Omicron strains.
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