Latest Omicron Subvariants Infect People Who Should Have Immunity, Researchers Say

BOSTON — Unsurprisingly, there has been an increase in COVID cases among people who should have immunity, and now local researchers have uncovered at least one reason why — a rapidly mutating Omicron variant.

Researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have found that the latest Omicron subvariants may be able to escape antibody responses, not only from people who have previously had COVID-19, but also from those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted.

The new sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 are estimated to have caused about a third of new infections in the US in the past week and that number is growing. This explains why so many people have contracted COVID in recent weeks, despite having the infection before or being fully vaccinated.

That said, the vaccines still provide significant protection against serious diseases, and vaccine makers are working on newly formulated injections that could provide stronger protection against these strains. Moderna says their updated vaccine elicits a “potent” immune response against BA.4 and BA.5 and hopes to get FDA approval later this summer.

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