Joel Achenbach, Taylor Van Zeiss, Scripps Research discussed on News, Traffic and Weather


The coronavirus pandemic isn't done with us. The new BA 5 version of the omicron variant shows a knack for evading antibodies and reinfecting us. Joel achenbach is watching it for The Washington Post and spoke with Taylor van zeiss. Julia caught a professor at Scripps research who says that this is the worst version of the virus we've seen. Why does he believe that's the case? So yeah, so this virus, this version of this sub variant, BA 5, it has a lot of mutations in it that allow it to escape the immune immunity we have either from being previously infected or from vaccination or both. And so it's not a totally new virus, obviously, but if you've been boosted and in fact, or if you've had a previous case, you're still vulnerable to getting infected again with BA 5. That's the problem. Now, when Eric topol, the professor says it's the worst version of it and arguably no, when we the virus first showed up two and a half years ago, that was the worst version because we had no immunity to it at all. It would never abide to never seen it before. We didn't have vaccines yet. We're in this dance with the virus right now where it keeps mutating in response to our immune system. And the result is a lot of infections and a lot of reinfections people who are getting excited for the second or third time. Do we know yet how widespread the BA 5 variant is in the United States or is that data just not there? We do actually have an idea of the percentage of cases right now that are being caused by BA 5. It's a majority. It's a little bit over half according to the latest CDC estimate, which always runs a week or two behind. So I think that the latest news we hear is that most cases are BA 5 or there would be a four, which is almost the same. It has the same spike protein as BA 5. So these two together are driving the wave of cases and the real question is how many cases are there? I mean, how many people right now are getting infected with the virus. That is a really interesting situation because people are testing at home and they're not reporting the results of the tests or they're not testing at all. They don't want to know if the thing that they are suffering from at the moment is COVID. So but the exports are telling us that it could be half a million people right now infected with the virus, which is a very large number. That's a big wave of cases. And it's why anecdotally, you probably know people who have had COVID in the last few weeks. Yeah, I can think of two or three names just off the top of my mind right now. Why is BA 5? So adept at reinfection. Do we know that yet? Well, we know the specific mutations on it that kind of alter the structure or chemistry of the spike. And there are some other parts of the virus that are also a little bit different, which may be part of that kind of slippery nature of it. It's not been Supernatural. It's just evolution. I mean, evolution happens in the virus is constantly making copies of itself and eventually it lands on a recipe or just to random mutations of the amino acids. It lands on a version that does a little better in terms of infecting people or replicating in their cells. The new version is BA 5 Joel achenbach reporting on it in The Washington Post and you can read more online, including about why this may impact our calculus around developing new boosters for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can find more online at Washington Post dot com. Joel, thank you

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