Omicron subvariants: BA.4.6 can evade immunity and may lead to reinfections

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one month ago  •  18 comments

By:   Erika Edwards

Omicron subvariants: BA.4.6 can evade immunity and may lead to reinfections
Omicron subvariants are spreading far and wide, and they appear to have immune-dodging abilities. The CDC and WHO are tracking a number of these subvariants.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



An omicron subvariant is once again demonstrating immune-dodging abilities, posing a threat to both vaccinated and previously infected individuals.

A report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the subvariant, called BA.4.6, could drive reinfections.

As of Friday, BA.4.6 accounted for just over 12% of new Covid cases in the U.S. BA.5, meanwhile, has been detected in nearly 68% of new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These subvariants are far from the only strains that experts worldwide are keeping their eyes on. Other omicron subvariants that have piqued the interest — and concerns — of scientists read like a viral alphabet soup: BQ.1, BQ.1.1, BF.7. (Those three, as it turns out, each account for around 5% of newU.S. cases.)

Gone are the days of identifying Covid by Greek letters, such as alpha and delta. Ever since the omicron variant emerged, it's been omicron all the way down, with omicron subvariants splitting off into their own subvariants.

"It's astonishing to see how the virus keeps mutating at such a rapid rate," said study author Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "This is essentially viral evolution on steroids."

Barouch's study was small, including just 35 people who'd had either the Covid vaccine or an omicron infection. Most, regardless of prior infection, had at least three doses of Covid vaccine. Blood samples showed that antibodies meant to neutralize BA.4.6 were about twofold lower than antibodies for BA.5.

"This suggests that omicron continues to evolve and continues to evolve in a way that becomes more transmissible and more effective at escaping vaccines and immune responses," he said. "The results are actually a harbinger to new variants that might be even more worrisome."

Viruses mutate at random, but mutations that give the virus an advantage over the immune system, vaccines or treatments tend to be the ones that stick around.

"The virus is very rapidly diversifying," said Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Compounding matters further, people have different levels of protection, depending on which vaccines they got (or didn't get) and how many infections they've had.

"There's a patchwork of immunity, which enables lots of hopeful monsters to emerge and transmit," Hanage said.

The updated Covid booster shots, which became available just last month, target both BA.4 and BA.5. But there's still no data on how the new shots work against BA.4 and BA.5, not to mention the slew of other subvariants.

The World Health Organization is tracking more than 300 omicron subvariants worldwide, Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said during a media briefing Wednesday. All of them, she said, show increased transmissibility.

Adriana Heguy, a professor of pathology and director of the Genome Technology Center at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, said her team has detected omicron subvariants XBB and XAZ in New York City. Those are not yet listed in the CDC's variant tracker.

"Everything comes to New York first," Heguy added.

Even as the subvariants take off around the globe, there's no evidence yet that they're making people sicker.

"We don't see a change in severity yet," Van Kerkhove said.

Heguy echoed the message. Her team is not yet seeing an increase in Covid-related hospitalizations.

"This is not March 2020," she said, "but I think we should exercise caution."


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  Vic Eldred    one month ago

We can do better.

th?id=OIP.u0zfsqJuv57EJJ-S8puqrgHaF7&pid=Api&rs=1&c=1&qlt=95&w=155&h=124

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
1.1  Revillug  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago
We can do better.

I'm curious as to how you, a Conservative NT member, would suggest we go about doing better?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Revillug @1.1    one month ago

... convince trumpsters that more vaccines and face masks are a deep state plot.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Revillug @1.1    one month ago

Replace the CDC leadership with people who are honest and non-partisan.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
1.1.3  Revillug  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.2    one month ago
Replace the CDC leadership with people who are honest and non-partisan.

I think if we had honest people in the CDC who followed epidemiological science instead political science they would be telling Americans to wear masks in more situations.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Vic Eldred  replied to  Revillug @1.1.3    one month ago
they would be telling Americans to wear masks in more situations.

Based on what?

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
1.1.6  Tacos!  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.2    one month ago
Replace the CDC leadership with people who are honest and non-partisan.

What would be the result of that?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.7  Vic Eldred  replied to  Tacos! @1.1.6    one month ago

We would have mandates based on speculation.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
2  Revillug    one month ago

On the one hand, Thanksgiving is going to be a heck of a super spreader this year.

On the other hand, many Millennials will be getting their inheritances sooner than expected.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
Junior Expert
3  al Jizzerror    one month ago

The World Health Organization is tracking more than 300 omicron subvariants worldwide, Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said during a media briefing Wednesday. All of them, she said, show increased transmissibility.

Holy shit!  I'm taking all of the boosters butt it sounds like the "subvariants" are getting ahead of the boosters. 

I attended a "super shredder" event recently.  It was a Joe Satriani concert  I wore a mask because I have COPD.  I noticed that over 90% of the people there were maskless.  Satriani managed to fully divert my attention.

Here's the studio version of one of Satriani's new songs:

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
3.1  Revillug  replied to  al Jizzerror @3    one month ago

I LOVE Satriani.

He's the instrumental heavy metal OG. He actually gave Steve Vai guitar lessons.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
3.2  Revillug  replied to  al Jizzerror @3    one month ago
I wore a mask because I have COPD.

I would imagine a KN95 mask would be a bit uncomfortable with COPD.

Is it?

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
Junior Expert
3.2.1  al Jizzerror  replied to  Revillug @3.2    one month ago

My biggest concern is how tight it fits, butt my glasses don't fog up like with most other masks. 

My breathing is okay, although it's a little more difficult.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
4  Drinker of the Wry    one month ago

I LOVE Santorini.  The rare natural beauty with the breathtaking caldera, and the volcanic beaches are heavy.  The food and wine are pretty damn special as well.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
4.1  Revillug  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4    one month ago
Santorini

It's Greek to me.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
5  Tacos!    one month ago

I had what I assume was BA.5 last month, so hopefully I’m good for a while. I’ll get the new vaccine, but probably not until after the new year.

One thing I think we could do that might help would be to allow the pharma people to come out with new vaccines even faster. Even with the new bivalent vaccine, they had to do more testing than they normally would for a flu vaccine.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
5.1  Revillug  replied to  Tacos! @5    one month ago
One thing I think we could do that might help would be to allow the pharma people to come out with new vaccines even faster.

Didn't they only test this last vaccine on mice?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Revillug @5.1    one month ago

... they probably needed a test group for the mental equivalent of anti-vaxers.

 
 

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