Two new strains of coronavirus appeared in Belarus Great Britainhealth officials warned.
Across the country, more than 700 cases of the mutant BQ.1 variant and another 18 cases of the so-called XBB variant have been identified.
Experts say both XBB and BQ.1 are highly resistant and may even be resistant to modern vaccines The Independent.
XBB and BQ.1 are descendants of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, and experts warn that a “swarm” of such sub-variants could lead to a new Corona virus infection covid wave across Europe and North America until the end of November.
Britain’s Health and Safety Executive said research into new options is ongoing and the body is carefully assessing the situation.
According to the Biozentrum research center at the University of Basel, which has been studying the evolution of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, there is a “collective” of subvariants that show the ability to spread quickly.
“The trends we are seeing at the moment are very different from what happened in the past,” said Cornelius Roemer, a computational biologist at the Biozentrum. The Independent.
“Omicron was perhaps the first option that avoided immunity well, which is why it made such a big splash. Now, for the first time, we’re seeing multiple lineages, multiple variants arising in parallel, all having very similar mutations and all managing to evade immunity quite well,” he said.
Last month, University of Warwick virologist Professor Lawrence Young said there were worrying sub-variants of Omicron in early data, including showing signs of being able to evade immunity.
However, he warned that the UK risked being blind to these new options due to cuts in testing facilities.
“The biggest concern that we see is that the early data is that these variants are starting to cause a small increase in infections. In a way, this was to be expected, but it shows that we are not yet out of this virus, unfortunately,” said Professor Yang.
He added: “We have really taken the focus away from Covid tests. We can only detect variants or know what’s coming by doing sequencing based on PCR testing, and that’s not happening to the extent it was a year ago.”
Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: “The emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 is not a surprise. Neither BQ.1 nor XBB have been identified as variants of concern and UKHSA is, as always, monitoring the situation closely.
“Vaccination remains our best defense against future waves of COVID-19, so it’s more important than ever that people come in and get all the doses they’re eligible for as soon as possible.”
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