New COVID subvariants are ‘the most immune evasive yet.’ Here’s what that means
San Francisco Chronicle, December 10, 2022
BQ and XBB present “serious threats to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines,” according to a Columbia study. A University of Texas Medical Branch study came to similar conclusions, finding “low” neutralization of BQ.1.1 and XBB from the updated booster. The new shot is an enhanced version of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets both the original virus and omicron. But compared to its protection against the omicron BA.5 subvariant, the bivalent booster is four times less effective against the BQ.1.1 subvariant and eight times less effective against the XBB subvariant, said Chaitanya Kurhade, an author of the study.