"Nearly 3 years into the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 faces a formidable challenge:
finding new ways around the immunity humans have built up through vaccines and
countless infections. Worrisome new data show it is up to the challenge.
Several new and highly immune-evasive strains of the virus have caught
scientists’ attention in recent weeks; one or more may well cause big, new
COVID-19 waves this fall and winter.
“We can say with certainty that something is coming. Probably multiple things
are coming,” says Cornelius Roemer, who studies viral evolution at the
University of Basel. Whether they will also lead to many hospitalizations and
deaths is the big question.
“It’s not surprising that we’re seeing changes that yet again help the virus to
evade immune responses,” says molecular epidemiologist Emma Hodcroft of the
University of Bern, who notes that SARS-CoV-2 faces “the same challenge that
things like the common cold and influenza face every year—how to make a
The strains that look poised to drive the latest comeback are all subvariants
of Omicron, which swept the globe over the past year. Several derived from
BA.2, a strain that succeeded the initial BA.1 strain of Omicron but then was
itself outcompeted in most places by BA.5, which has dominated in recent
months. One of these, BA.2.75.2, seems to be spreading quickly in India,
Singapore, and parts of Europe. Other new immune-evading strains have evolved
from BA.5, including BQ.1.1, which has been spotted in multiple countries
around the globe."
Via Violet Blue’s Pandemic Roundup
: September 29, 2022
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics