Covid: “He has all the cards in hand to become the majority”, the BQ 1.1 variant on the way to supplant BA.5?

The BQ 1.1 subline, BA mutation. 5, itself a cousin of the Omicron variant, could, according to initial studies, become the majority in the coming weeks. If its dangerousness does not alert for the moment, some of these immune escape characteristics raise further questions.

While France has become accustomed to the BA.5 variant, this cousin of Omicron, which has become largely in the majority throughout the territory and which is carrying the epidemic recovery in Europe, a youngest could well find a place of choice these next weeks.

Responding to the sweet name of BQ 1.1, it appears in “more and more sequencing, especially in the United Kingdom since the end of September”, indicates Yannick Simonin virologist and lecturer at the University of Montpelier.

Compared to BA 5, it has three additional mutations one of which could confer resistance to certain antibodies. “That’s why it’s a varying under surveillance“says the researcher. According to the first data, the attachment protein, which plays a role in the contamination of the organism by the virus, could be modified with this variant.

new symptoms

Because if to apprehend all the specifications of this variant “we still lack hindsight”, tempers the researcher, a first characteristic already seems to be emerging.

“We already know that the Covid can have a impact on the digestive systemthese are the classic secondary symptoms, especially with Omicron, however it would seem that with this variant, the proportion gastric involvement is greater“, details the researcher who however calls for caution because of the still few studies on the subject.

As Édouard Tuallion, professor of virology at Montpellier University Hospital, also explains, BA 5 “had time to mutate since it is widely present in the population. By causing almost all of the contaminations, he had every possibility of having descendants. This is what is happening today with BQ 1.1″. Gastric problems could therefore be a first element of the answer to the understanding of this new sub-line.

Soon majority?

Besides the fact that BQ 1.1 can be confused with a simple gastroenteritis and therefore prevent the correct diagnosis in the event of contamination with the coronavirus, it would also be on the way to becoming the No. 1 variant in France in the weeks to come.

“We know that it is significantly present in the Paris region” details Édouard Tuallion. “Even if the studies we have at the moment date from mid-September, there are signs which suggest that given its development and rapid increase, it could represent the majority of cases in the coming weeks, even become a majority“.

An observation shared by Yannick Simonin: “With BA 2.75, it is one of the two variants at the moment which have the best chance of supplanting the current BA 5. He has an advantage exhaust immune which would mean that it could become the majority in well-protected populations such as the French population. Genetically he has all the cards in hand to become the next majority variant. He is a very great candidate”, warns the researcher.

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