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Study reveals that Omicron BQ and XBB subvariants can evade boosters and antibody treatments

In recent months Omicron subvariants have become the dominant strain and may be able to evade boosters.

In addition to evading boosters, antibody treatment may not work and could cause serious breakthrough infections in people.

The subvariants that are the most evasive to boosters are BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB and XBB.1 Omicron subvariants. They currently make up 72% of new infections according to CNBC


A new study published in the journal Cell has found that the new variants are barely susceptible to neutralization.

Testing was done on the blood of people who have had 3-4 shots of the original vaccines, those who had the new omicron boosters after three of the original vaccines, and those who were vaccinated with original vaccines and had breakthrough infections from BA.2 or BA.5 subvariants.

People with the omicron boosters had antibodies that were 24 times lower against BQ.1, 41 times lower against BQ.1.1, 66 times lower against XBB and 85 times lower against XBB.1. This is in comparison to the original strain.

While protection is lower overall, it was high for people with omicron boosters compared to those with original vaccines.

As for antibody drugs like Evusheld and bebtelovimab, they were found to be entirely ineffective against the new subvariants.

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