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New Omicron subvariants infect people who should be immune, researchers say

BOSTON — It’s no surprise that there has been an increase in COVID cases among people who should be immunized and now local researchers have discovered at least one reason for that — a rapidly mutating Omicron variant.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have found that new Omicron subvariants may be able to evade antibody responses, not only from people who have had COVID-19 in the past, but also from those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

The new BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are estimated to have caused about a third of new infections in the United States last week and that number is increasing. This explains why so many people have contracted COVID in the past few weeks when they either had the infection before or were completely immune.

That said, vaccines still offer significant protection against serious diseases, and vaccine manufacturers are working on newly formulated vaccines that may offer stronger protection against these strains. Moderna says its updated vaccine elicits a “potent” immune response against BA.4 and BA.5 and hopes to gain FDA clearance later this summer.


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