Corona: The “Hellhound” variant is spreading: why experts sound the alarm about BQ.1

The new BQ.1 omicron sub-series is nicknamed “Hellhound”. In Europe, the Corona variant is spreading rapidly, experts fear.

Frankfurt – Currently on the rise is the new Omikron variant BQ.1 and its subseries BQ.1.1. With the coming winter in mind, new Omikron variants are causing concern among researchers around the world. You assume that BQ.1. in Europe will be responsible for the next big corona wave by the end of November. Due to high infectivity, the subline is BQ.1. nicknamed “Cerberus” after the hellhound from Greek mythology.

According to the weekly report of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) of October 27, 2022, the so-called “hell dog variant” is also increasingly being revealed in Germany. The experts are mainly thanks to the speed with which the BQ.1. and its descendant BQ.1.1 expanded, worried. The European Agency for Disease Control ECDC predicts that the BQ.1 corona variant, including its sublines, will account for more than 50 percent of coronavirus infections from mid-November to early December 2022.

Omikron-Subline BQ.1 and BQ.1.1
derived from BA.5 and BA.1.1
special feature Mutations in the spike protein
Result Faster transfer

New Corona variant: “Hellhound” BQ.1.1 is spreading fast

The “Hell Dog” is currently determining the course of the pandemic in France and the US. According to media reports, BQ.1 causes nearly 20 percent of coronavirus infections there. According to experts, the new variant has a transmission advantage of more than ten percent over the previously dominant omicron subvariant BA.5. Cornelius Römer of the Biozentrum of the University of Basel split already at the beginning of October Twitter reported that the number of BQ.1 infections, especially in Europe and North America, is doubling every week.

“The data from America shows: BQ.1. creates a lot of steam. The variant spreads effectively,” Frankfurt virologist Martin Stürmer said in an interview ZDF today. American immunologist Anthony Fauci warned in an interview with a television station CBS News also before quickly doubling the new Corona variant.

In Greek mythology, Cerberus is usually a multi-headed hellhound that guards the entrance to the underworld.


Corona pandemic: Does vaccination against the omicron sublineage BQ.1 protect?

According to experts, it is still not clear whether vaccination or past infections protect against the new variant. This is pointed out by Richard Neher, head of the Evolution of Viruses and Bacteria research group at the University of Basel. ZDF on studies from China and Sweden. These showed that the corona variant is probably less recognized by human antibodies due to mutations in the spike proteins. The virus could thus deceive the immune system.

However, vaccinated and recovered people are protected from severe courses caused by the Omicron subline. Despite the rapid spread and high risk of infection, some people have not yet contracted the corona virus. (hg)

Caption image: © IMAGO

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