In accordance with Dear released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Three rival strains — the BF.7, BA.2.75 and BA.4.6 variants — have now risen to account for about 1 in 5 new infections nationwide, according to federal estimates.
Data published by the CDC on Thursday recorded only 2% of Americans living in counties rated at “high” community COVID-19 levels, where the agency urges indoor masking and other measures to curb the virus.
But health officials have warned for weeks that the United States was not “out of the woods” yet.
Scientists and health authorities have been preparing for an expected resurgence on the virus The past two winter seasons saw deadly waves sweep across the country.
Despite President BidenThis month as the pandemic ended, officials also urged Americans to look for upgraded boosters redesigned to protect against BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
Around 7.6 million Americans have received up-to-date vaccinations, or about 4% of 209 million people who are eligible for the booster. The pace of new injections in the arms has accelerated to the fastest rate in months, CDC data samplebut it still lags behind last year’s booster release.
A potential candidate for a fall and winter wave is now being tracked by virus experts it is BA.2.75.2. First laboratory data of Europe Y Porcelain suggests that the variant harbors mutations that Add the “most extreme antibody leak of any variant we’ve seen so far.”
“With the combination of variant evolution as well as seasonal aspects, as we head into late fall and winter, we are likely to see another variant emerge,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, outgoing chief to the president. medical adviser, he said last week in an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
at least 188 cases of this subvariant have been detected in the US to date in 26 states.
“There’s already one on the horizon that looks suspicious that it might start to evolve as another variant, and that’s BA.2.75.2,” Fauci said.
The CDC has not yet released a specific estimate for this strain, as it remains below 1% nationwide, but has been “gradually increasing in recent weeks.” The overall lineage of the variant, BA.2.75, has grown to 1.4% of cases nationwide.
The prevalence of BA.2.75 is currently highest in the New York and New Jersey region, where the CDC estimates it accounts for 2.4% of new infections.
CDC airport surveillance has also detected the variant on flights from India, beginning in August.
BA.4.6 and BF.7
The other two variants, BA.4.6 and BF.7, have raised concerns that they could evade protection offered by a key antibody drug used to protect immunocompromised Americans who might not get immunity from the vaccine known as Evusheld.
“BF.7 has an additional genetic change in the gene that encodes the Spike protein compared to viruses of the parental BA.5 lineage. The data indicates that this specific genetic change could reduce the efficacy of Evusheld,” said Jasmine Reed, spokesperson from the CDC, told CBS News in a statement.
Reed said so far “there is no indication that vaccines or diagnostic tests” are affected by the BF.7 mutations.
The CDC says that 3.4% of cases nationwide now stem from BF.7. 12.8% are from BA.4.6.
The proportion of BF.7 is highest in New England, where the CDC says 5.7% of new infections are related to the variant. The CDC has also detected the variant in passengers flying from France.
New England is also where the recent federal hospitalization and nursing home data has tracked a rise in the virus, at a time when most regions have seen a sharp decline.
After earlier variants threatened the protection offered by AstraZeneca’s drug, the Food and Drug Administration transferred to increase the dose of Evusheld to defend against strains.
It’s unclear if the FDA will make a similar move this fall in response to the new strains.
“The FDA is working with the sponsors of all currently authorized therapeutics to assess activity against any global variant of SARS-CoV-2 of interest and is committed to communicating with the public as we learn more,” said Chanapa Tantibanchachai, spokesperson. from the FDA, it said in a statement.