The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that two omicron subvariants had overtaken the BA.5 variant as the dominant strain in the U.S.
According to new data released by the CDC on Friday, the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants now account for more than half of the country's cases. BA.5, which has dominated since early summer, now makes up only one-fifth of new infections.
Not much is known about the new variants, but so far, they are presenting with similar illness to the other omicrons. Both Pfizer and Moderna said last week that their booster shots induce an immune response against BQ.1.1.
The new variants could pose a risk for people that are immunocompromised due to disease or medications. They also appear to be resistant to antibody medications, such as bebtelovimab and Evusheld.
Chief White House medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said in a press briefing that health officials believe that enough immunity exists, thanks to vaccines, booster shots, and infection, that a COVID surge is unlikely.
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