Stanford scientists say a concerning omicron subvariant is now in the Bay Area.
The new subvariant called the BA2.75.2 is being closely monitored because the body’s immune systems may not recognize it.
The Clinical Virology Lab at Stanford University detected one case of it and several other cases also have been confirmed in Los Angeles County.
“It’s known as one of the most immune evasive variants so far,” said UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.
Specifically, the subvariant’s spike protein looks different, which means antibodies we have from getting a vaccine or from having had COVID may not be able to recognize it and there could be a higher chance of it, causing infection.
Chin-Hong said that despite that concern, common antivirals used to fight COVID including Paxlovid should still be effective.
“It just shuts down the mechanism that makes virus particles. That’s why it doesn’t matter what spike protein you have, paxlovid or Remdesivir, all these other antivirals will work,” he said.
Chin-Hong added that scientists are also monitoring another subvariant, “BF7,” which is causing a surge in Europe.
“It’s rising on the charts quickly in the U.S.,” he said.
While Chin-Hong said there is a lull in COVID cases in the Bay Area right now, he still recommends people to get a booster shot soon to protect against getting a severe case that could send them to the hospital.
He added that getting the booster is especially important if someone is immune compromised, over 65 years old or pregnant.
Source: NBC Bay Area