Researcher Conducting Wastewater Surveillance Of SARS-CoV-2 Variants Predicts That the Next Concerning Variants Will Be The BU And BQ Variants!
A leading researcher from University of Missouri-School of Medicine-USA who has been involved in wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants for the last two years predicts that the newly emerging BU and BQ variants are most likely to be the next concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants in the next waves after the various BA.2.75 sub-lineages that are expected to dominate this fall and early winter.
Professor Dr Marc Johnson, a molecular virologist predicted that the BU an BQ variants would be the next dominant VOCs in coming months.
The BU lineages starts with the BU.1 variant ie BA.126.96.36.199 with spike mutations S:444M & S460K
The BQ lineage starts with the BQ.1 variant ie B.1.1.5188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 or BA.220.127.116.11.1.1.1. It is evolving rapidly and is still spawning lots of sub-lineages with interesting spike mutations and also nucleocapsid mutations.
The BQ.1 is already showing a great growth advantage over the BA.2.75 lineage. https://cov-spectrum.org/collections/24
Professor Johnson says that most of the cryptic lineages found in wastewater studies are arising from very long-term infections in people (often >1 year) and that most probably gastrointestinal tract infections are involved. He said that the human hosts are obviously mounting an immune response, but are not able to clear the infection.
He commented, “As a result of no genetic bottlenecks from spreading from person-to-person, these viruses basically push the evolutionary fast-forward button.”
Professor Johnson said, “These are the sites in the Spike RBD that are most commonly changed in the cryptic lineages. We had seen lineages with these changes long before they were seen in Omicron!”
Interestingly, when Omicron arrived, it had mutations at many of the same sites. The main exceptions were L452 and N460, which were common in cryptic lineages, but were not in Omicron (BA.1).
About six months later his team started seeing Omicron lineages with mutations at L452.
Also, a few months ago N460K appeared in an Omicron lineage (BA.2.75). However, it was not combined with any of the L452 mutations. Nonetheless, BA.2.75 and its derivatives have continued to expand and slowly displace other lineages.
Professor Johnson explained in a twitter thread that a few days ago, a new lineage appeared in a Missouri wastewater sample. Omicron with L452R+N460K (and K444M). This appears to match a new lineage that was just designated as BU.1 a few days ago. Currently there are only 13 sequences in GISAID with this combination of mutations.
There is another completely independent lineage that arrived at almost exactly the same combination. This lineage is designated BQ.1.1. This group has L452R+K444T (rather than K444M).
In addition, BQ.1.1 has also picked up R346T (also seen in BA.4.6).
His study team has not focused as much on this region of spike, but most cryptic lineages that they have checked also have a mutation at this site. It seems to be pretty critical. BQ.1.1 is new, but it seems to be taking off.
Professor Johnsons twitter thread can be found here.
The BW.1 (BA.18.104.22.168) sub-lineage with spike mutations 444T and 460K could also become a concerning variant the next few months.
It should be noted that Chinese researchers are already warning indirectly that the current SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants are all rapidly evolving and mutating at an unprecedented rate and are managing to not only evade both natural immunity from previous infections and vaccine induced immunity but also the last few various monoclonal therapeutics available.
Studies have also showed that both the BA.2.75 variant and its emerging sub-lineages like the BA.2.75.2 sub-lineage are already displaying a trend to evade all existing monoclonal therapeutics.
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predicts that the next few surges starting will have very short intervals between each surge that is being dominated by a particular sub-lineage and that many will constantly be re-infected and their bodies and health status being deteriorated each time.
Individuals infected with the previous Omicron variants including the current BA.5 variant that is playing a role in current surges, will not be protected form further reinfections caused by the newer variants and sub-lineages including the BA.2.75, BA.2.75.2. BA.2.75.4, BA.2.75.5, BA.2.75.6, BU.1, BQ.1, BQ.1.1 or even the BJ or BW sub-lineages etc.
Even the current boosters that are being promoted but only tested on eight mice will not be able to protect against these new sub-lineages and this coming fall and winter is expected to be far worse than that of the last two years, as this time, we are literally left with no therapeutics or ‘tools’ to deal with the disease as even all the existing monoclonal drugs and antivirals will be of no use!
Though most infected except those in the vulnerable groups (ie the young, aged, obese, immunocompromised and those with existing comorbidities) will experience only mild symptomatic conditions initially, most will have quick deteriorating health conditions later and subsequently have an increased risk of mortality from heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, sepsis, organ failure and also aggressive cancers. Most of these excess deaths will not even be claimed to be linked to COVID-19 as that is the way that those controlling the COVID-19 narratives prefers things to be!
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