Covid 19 what is Omicron XBB15 the new variant that

Covid 19: what is Omicron XBB.1.5, the new variant that is on the rise in the United States? Southwest

XBB.1.5 would be the new kid in the big Omicron family, reveal our colleagues from “Parisien”. It’s on track to become mainstream in the United States within weeks, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is this variant?

The Omicron variant appeared more than a year ago and gave rise to several sublineages, each with one or more mutations. XBB.1.5 is one of them. It derives from XBB, which is recombinant, ie an assembly of two pre-existing Omicron variants (in this case BJ.1 and BM.1.1.1).

XBB has been circulating (as well as XBB.1) in Asia for a few weeks. But the United States is the first country where XBB.1.5 is making such big strides. “This is the first time that a recombinant has taken up so much space in a Western country,” observes Samuel Alizon, research director at CNRS and specialist in evolutionary biology, with the “Parisien”.

more contagious?

XBB.1.5 is better than BQ.1, the majority variant in France, at bypassing the immunity of people vaccinated and/or infected with messenger RNA vaccines. Scientists speak of “immune escape”. This variant manages to cling to the ACE2 receptor of human cells, a kind of gateway for the virus, the Chinese expert reports on Twitter Yunlong Cao. This aspect could make XBB.1.5 more portable.