Updated: Nov 3
Australian health authorities are on alert as anecdotal evidence suggests that the XBB and BQ.1 variants may be behind the rapidly escalating spike in new COVID cases.
Most Australian states and territories have reported a rise in weekly Covid-19 cases with Tasmania reporting the highest increase at 30 per cent between 21st and 28th October. This is followed by the Australian Capital Territory (26 per cent), Victoria (25 per cent), Western Australia (20 per cent), New South Wales (15 per cent) and South Australia (15 per cent).
The indicators (combined with an eight per cent increase in antiviral prescriptions) show that we are undoubtedly at the start of another summer COVID-19 wave largely due to the ‘troublesome’ XBB and BQ.1 subvariants. BQ.1 is a BA.5 subvariant has been found in 65 countries and has a global prevalence of eight per cent, while XBB is a recombinant of BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 sub lineages, has a global prevalence of 1.5 per cent and has been detected in 35 countries.
There has been a lot of research that suggests XBB is the most immune-evasive lineage to date, and that it is driving significant case and hospitalisation waves overseas due to its ability to escape immunity from past infection (including BA.5) and waning immunity from past vaccination.
Recently labelled as ‘variants of concern’ for their rapid doubling time (or rate of increase), and their recombinant nature, a higher risk exists when a person is infected with two different strains of a virus, and the viruses exchange and recombine their genetic information to effectively create a new genome.
With virtually all restrictions removed and as the pre-emptory infection numbers climb, health authorities are urging people to engage in appropriate preventative behaviours and to self-test as soon as they feel unwell so that they may access important oral treatments, including antivirals.
Don’t get caught out in another year-end rush for rapid antigen tests – protect you and your loved one’s this holiday period.
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*Our biggest ever sale has been extended until Wednesday 30th November 2022 11:59pm (AEST).