Corona variant XBB.1.5 on the rise in the USA

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In the U.S., a significant proportion of new Corona infections are due to the XBB.1.5 variant, which has only recently become known. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that XBB.1.5 was behind about 40.5 percent of all new infections in the week leading up to the new year. The variant could be more easily transmissible, according to the CDC.

“We have been monitoring XBB.1.5 since mid-November, and its incidence has doubled about every week,” Richard Neher, head of the Evolution of Viruses and Bacteria research group at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. He said that the F486P mutation in the so-called spike protein characterizes the variant. That’s the part of the virus it uses to bind to human cells.

“This mutation potentially enhances binding to the receptor ACE2 on human cells. But what exactly this means is not clear,” Neher stressed. He said he is unaware of evidence that XBB.1.5 leads to more severe disease progression.

  • source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com
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