On December 12, 2022, as COVID cases continue to increase, individuals are seen using masks in New York City.
The Omicron subvariants that are causing COVID infections in Americans, according to scientists, appear to avoid both the immune system and drug therapies for the virus.
Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Michigan suggested that the Omicron subvariants BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 were “the most sensitive [COVID] variants to date” in a recent study that was published in the scientific journal Cell.
By combining the new strains with blood samples from people who had either received 3 or 4 doses of the original immunizations, a new bivalent booster, or had post-vaccination breakthrough infectious diseases caused by the BA.2 or BA.5 Omicron subvariants, the research team investigated how the new strains reacted to antibodies.
The neutralization of BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 was “significantly impaired,” according to their research, also when antibodies from the new bivalent immunizations were utilized.
The study did find that the upgraded vaccines did offer a little bit more protection than the first shots.
The new “bivalent” vaccinations, developed by Pfizer and Moderna to protect against both the primary COVID-19 strain and more recent Omicron subvariants, received U.S. approval in August.