Strongest immune evading omicron mutations arrive in U.S.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The rapid evolution of omicron has been described as both fascinating and worrisome since the spawn of the deadly Delta mutation arrived in January.   

Now, two new strains are sparking concern among health officials: XBB and BQ.1. What’s most troubling about them, they say, is the two strains have the most striking resemblance to Delta than all COVID predecessors. 

“Slight genetic modifications certainly seem to be strategic in terms of how they influence the spike protein, the infectivity of the virus and their ability to evade established immunity,” Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, told News 8. “Whether it’s from vaccination, someone having a prior infection or even some of the monoclonal antibody treatments we have at our disposal.” 

Doehring says XBB and BQ.1 strains–which have overridden other parts of the world such as Singapore and Europe–have adapted to do just that.