Washington: While the country was supposedly witnessing a downward trend in COVID-10 cases, health experts are concerned over the new variant. According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new COVID strains are gaining ground across the world and in the US. As per latest estimate by CDC, the new variant BQ.1 makes up for atleast 1 in 10 cases in US. President Joe Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser and a top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci sounded an alarm pertaining to this new emergence of BQ.1.
Speaking to CBS News, Fauci, said the BQ.1 Covid-19 strain has already made up 10 per cent of new infections around the country as per CDC estimate.
Why new COVID variant BQ.1 is troublesome?
The CDC had previously bundled BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 with their shared parent BA.5 in its weekly “Nowcast” estimates.BQ.1 was first named by scientists in early September, based on sequences spotted across the US and several other countries, reported CBS News
BQ.1 variants have already outpaced many rival strains in European nations from England to Germany, which have already seen renewed waves begin. According to the CDC, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 each currently make up an estimated 5.7 per cent of infections around the country.
Experts have cited the “sizable number of unique mutations” in variants like BQ.1 in speculating that it could evade immunity from prior infections or vaccination.
BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 also appear on track to overtake the only other strain that still outnumbers them: BA 4.6, which currently makes up 12.2% of infections.
What experts have to say on new COVID variant?
“When you get variants like that, you look at what their rate of increase is as a relative proportion of the variants, and this has a pretty troublesome doubling time,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the US president’s chief medical adviser, told CBS News.
On the pretetxt of the troublesome new variant , a CDC spokesperson said, “While BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. represent a small but fast-growing subset of the Omicron variant, BA.5 remains the dominant lineage in the US.”
“However, so far little is known about what impact these mutations might have in affecting the severity of the disease, which would require further studies in animals and humans,” said the report.
As China imposes fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions amid COVID surge, the country has detected new Omicron sub-variants BF.7 and BA.5.1.7, which are highly infectious with greater transmissibility. Canada also confirmed 20,002 new Covid-19 cases for the week ending October 8, raising concerns over a resurgence, health authorities said.