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Covid in UK: Cases of New Variants BQ.1 and XBB Rise To 700

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Coronavirus’s two new strains-BQ.1 and XBB- are responsible for rising cases in the United Kingdom, cautioned health officials. Over 700 cases of the two new strains of COVID-19 have been found in the UK.

Experts have cautioned about the characteristics of XBB and BQ.1 variants of Covid that are very immune evasive and have immunity against new vaccines.

New coronavirus variants XBB and BQ.1 are subvariants of the highly transmissible Omicron variant and according to experts a “swarm” of such subvariants could result in a fresh Covid wave across Europe and North America by the end of November.

The UK Health and Security Agency said that studies are taking place on the new variants and that they are closely watching the situation.

The Biozentrum research facility at the University of Basel has been studying the virus since coronavirus pandemic started and it has observed that there is a “collective” of subvariants that are showing an ability to spread rapidly.

Coronavirus variants BQ.1 and XBB of have immune evasion ability

Cornelius Roemer, a computational biologist working with Biozentrum, told news agency The Independent, “Omicron was maybe the first variant that was good at evading immunity and that’s why it caused such a large wave. Now for the first time, we see many lineages, many variants emerging parallel that all have very similar mutations and that all manage to still evade immunity.” He added, “the trends we’re seeing at the moment are very different from what’s happened in the past.”

Virologist professor Lawrence Young had said last month that these variants are responsible for causing more infections. “The biggest concern we’re seeing is that in early data these variants are starting to cause a slight increase in infections. In a way, this was to be expected but it does demonstrate that we’re not out of the woods yet at all with this virus, sadly,” he had said.

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