Omicron spawn XBB.1.5, also known as “Kraken,” now dominates the U.S. covid variant scene, comprising an estimated 61% of cases, according to federal health data released Friday.

But now a new player that could give the Kraken a run for its money is being tracked by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CH.1.1, or “Orthrus,” is estimated to account for 1.5% of US cases as of Friday. Another Omicron Spall, this one is named after the two-headed cattle dog killed by Hercules, an Australian alternate tracker. Mike Mar.

Not much is known about the new species, which has been on the rise worldwide since November. Unlike other “high-flying” Covid variants, it has the potential to become more transmissible, suppress immunity to vaccines and infections, and cause more severe disease.

What’s more, it features a mutation found in the deadly delta variant that is generally not seen in Omicrons—which could make it even more formidable to the enemy. CH.1.1 A combination or combination of delta and omiron rather than “deltachron”—this is a prime example of concerted evolution, a process in which covid variants mutate independently but carry the same mutation.

According to Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, how CH.1.1 will work in different countries around the world, including the US, is anyone’s best guess. Chance.

“I don’t think we have a clear understanding of which variables we should be concerned about and which we shouldn’t be,” he said.

Case in point: XBB.1.5, which in the US “started out to be a very tough challenge in terms of Covid, but after gaining dominance in the Northeast, it started to take off in all the rest.” of the country”, where it has not grown rapidly, he says.

“We’ve seen this before: what looks like a challenge isn’t really a challenge.”

The bottom line, says Osterholm, is that anyone who thinks the pandemic can tell you what the future will look like, and they’re wrong, we’re still in a pandemic, “maybe has a bridge to sell you.”

Absent a crystal ball, here’s what we know about diversity under WHO supervision.

Where and when was it found?

CH.1.1 emerged in Southeast Asia this fall and is now responsible for more than a quarter of infections in parts of the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The pre-print paper was released last week Ohio State University researchers.

Its circulation has increased significantly since November and now accounts for 10% of daily Covid samples worldwide. according to pandemic.infoa community repository of Covid information.

The exception is one of those monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO). said Wednesday’s report.

In which countries is it set?

New Zealand is currently seeing the majority of CH.1.1 cases; according to There, he is responsible for more than a third of the series. Other hot spots include Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea – accounting for a quarter of the cases in each country. It is slightly less than a fifth of cases in Cambodia and Ireland.

Why is it so serious?

XBB.1.5 continues to be the most transmissible strain of Covid, A January 19 from the variable tracker Cornelius Romer report, a mathematical biologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, and others. But it is worth watching CH.1.1. Like XBB.1.5, it’s highly portable, with levels doubling every two weeks or so.

CH.1.1 also binds well to the ACE2 receptor, which is where the virus attacks human cells, Ohio State researchers say. This means that it has the ability to – at least partially – develop antibodies against previous infections and vaccinations, as well as cause more severe disease. Due to the L452R mutation observed in Delta, it may be able to inactivate other competing Omicron species in these platforms, but not in Omicron as a whole.

Ohio State researchers used a lab-created version of CH.1.1 to test how well serum from 14 healthcare workers who received between two and four doses of the first vaccine did, and whether the new Omicron booster made it neutral. They found that the workers’ sera produced 17 times less antibodies against CH.1.1 than they did against BA.4 and BA.5.

CH.1.1 and another new variant, CA.3.1, are more immunogenic than the XBB and BQ subvariants, the researchers wrote, calling the finding “surprising.”

How did it change?

CH.1.1 is a descendant of BA.2.75, which was a variant This winter it was named “Centaurus”. But eventually he got overwhelmed.

Currently, most major strains of Covid are descendants of BA.5, which swept the world this summer, or BA.2.75. Recent exposure to BA.2.75 or BA.5—or one of their derivatives—may provide some temporary protection, experts say, so “families” deserve special attention.

For example, if you have recently been exposed to a BA.5 variant, you may be susceptible to newer BA.5 variants for a while, but become more susceptible to BA.2.75 variants, and vice versa. (Note, XBB.1.5 is a descendant of BA.2.75.)

But with Covid, there are exceptions to every rule, apparently: Japan Back-to-back BA.5 waves have caused the death toll there to peak, notes Osterholm.

Will the new Omicron COVID promotion protect me?

The protection provided by the first Covid vaccine is waning, Ohio State researchers write. They pointed out the new Omicron booster but offered less protection than CH.1.1 and CA.3.1 over other variants like XBB and BQ.1.1.

This story is featured in the beginning

More from Fortune:
Olympic superstar Usain Bolt lost $12 million in a fraudulent savings account. Only $12,000 is left in his account
The real sin of Meghan Markle, which the British people cannot forgive and the Americans cannot understand
It just doesn’t work. The world’s best restaurant is closing because its owner has called the modern fine dining model ‘unsustainable’.
Bob Iger put his foot down and told the Disney employees to go back to the office

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *