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Assessing the Danger of a New Strain of Emerging Coronavirus

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Japanese scientists have found that a new variant of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 XBB.1.5, which circulates in the Western Hemisphere, is highly contagious.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases indicates that the SARS-CoV-2 XBB.1.5 variant, which was discovered in October 2022, is highly contagious in addition to spreading rapidly. It has a new mutation in the S protein that facilitates its binding to the cellular receptor (ACE2), allowing it to enter human cells. This mutation helps to replace the proline amino acid with the serine amino acid at position 486, which is a viral threat for a number of reasons.

The researchers conducted a series of experiments, the results of which showed that SARS-CoV-2 XBB.1.5 has a high reproducibility index (Re) 1.2 times higher than that of the original XBB.1. . The XBB.1.5 is also rapidly replacing the BQ.1.1 that has dominated the US so far.

The XBB.1.5 S protein has been shown to be highly resistant to antibodies induced by superinfection with the BA.2/BA.5 subvariants. Thus, patients who have previously been infected with BA.2/BA.5 may not develop strong immunity against XBB.1.5, increasing the likelihood of reinfection.

Japanese scientists believe that SARS-CoV-2 XBB.1.5 could become a serious health threat in the Eastern Hemisphere as well, so immediate action and preventive measures must be taken.

Source: Linta. EN

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