01/01/2023 12:56 (act. 01/01/2023 12:56)
New variant of virus may be even more contagious ©APA/THEMENBILD
In the US, a significant proportion of new corona infections can be traced back to the XBB.1.5 variant, which was only recently discovered. US health authority CDC estimates that in the week before the turn of the year, XBB.1.5 was behind about 40.5% of all new infections. The variant may be more easily transferable, according to the CDC.
“We have been monitoring XBB.1.5 since mid-November, and its frequency has approximately doubled every week,” Richard Neher, head of the Evolution of Viruses and Bacteria research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, told the German Press Agency. . The variant is characterized by the F486P mutation in the so-called spike protein. This is the part of the virus that it uses to attach itself to human cells.
“This mutation can improve binding to the ACE2 receptor in human cells. What exactly this means is unclear,” Neher emphasized. He is not aware of any indications that XBB.1.5 leads to more severe disease progression.