If you’ve been following COVID news, you’re well aware that there’s a new version in town that concerns the scientific community. The variant known as XBB is believed to be the most immuno-aggressive to date and is currently responsible for more than 40% of infections in the United States statistics From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This percentage is expected to grow rapidly in the coming weeks as the XBB competes with other Omicron variants such as the BQ.1. look what happened new England: Within three weeks, the percentage of cases attributed to XBB in the region increased from 11% to 75%.

Because XBB is relatively new, scientists are still working to determine if and how the variant behaves differently from other recent variants. Although the symptoms of XBB are expected to be similar to those of previous Omicron infections, doctors say they are seeing some issues becoming more prevalent than others.

“Viruses usually mutate to become more infectious and less severe; It appears to be happening with this strain of coronavirus,” Doctor. Henry Redelthe chief of infectious disease at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, told HuffPost.

We asked infectious disease specialists what they’re seeing at the hospital right now. Here’s what he said:

The most common XBB COVID symptoms seem to be congestion and body aches.

There’s Limited Data on XBB, But Experts Are Skeptical symptoms Symptoms associated with XBB infection will be similar to those experienced by people with COVID throughout 2022.

said that, evidence showed that the symptom profile shifted slightly with each version. For example, omicron caused more cold-like symptoms (such as fatigue, runny nose, sneezing, and muscle aches), while delta and alpha typically triggered anosmia (loss of smell) and ageusia (loss of taste). .

So, what’s on the docket for XBB? “In general, I find that people have more pain and still have congestion and headaches,” Dr. Julie Parsonettan infectious disease specialist at Stanford Health Care told HuffPost. You can also expect to see other common symptoms: fever, chills, cough, and sore throat.

Less common symptoms include loss of taste and smell and shortness of breath.

Anosmia and ageusia, in fact, appear to be less common with XBB. Experts don’t expect ageusia and anosmia to come back just yet. “Since XBB is part of the Omicron group, I would expect that loss of taste and smell would not be common, but I haven’t seen the data yet,” Dr. Thomas CampbellA professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Frontline doctors are missing one thing: severe shortness of breath, Redel said. He said that hardly any of the recent patients needed supplemental oxygen. Redl noted that he is seeing many more COVID patients come in with classic upper respiratory symptoms — such as runny nose, congestion and sore throat — along with fever and muscle aches.

Grace Carey via Getty Images

The general symptoms have changed since the original iteration of the coronavirus.

What causes the symptom to change between subvariants?

Because so many people have been infected — in some cases, multiple times — it is hard to pinpoint exactly how symptomatology is affected by host versus virus-specific symptoms. Parsonett suspects that iCommunity plays a huge role.

“There is likely a strong element of built-in immunity, but there may also be differences in the ability of the virus to cause symptoms,” Parsonett told HuffPost.

According to dr. Martin KruskPeople’s genetics and underlying health — that is, whether they have a chronic illness or prior injury — also affect the type of symptoms they develop, says an infectious disease specialist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Like Parsonett, Krusak said each variant and the way it infects our cells also affects symptoms. “The variant has a different ability to evade prior immunity and a different ability to bind to the main target on human cells,” he said.

Does the latest COVID shot prevent you from getting infected with XBB?

a pre-print study From Japan it is determined that the XBB arrived during the summer of 2022 when the two sub-variants of the BA.2 Omicron lineage were combined. Scientists believe that in this process xbb picked up mutations that help it better avoid the immunity provided by both vaccination and previous infections.

XBB’s mutation Let it attach to our cells more easily, allowing it to spread more efficiently than other versions of Omicron.

“It binds tightly, is more transmissible, and is also immunosuppressive,” Dr. Eric M. Poschla, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. it is unknown whether those mutations Parsonnet said that change the clinical profile of the virus and the symptoms it causes.

Updated COVID shot, tweaked to target new variant of Omicron in 2022, doesn’t work very well Preventing XBB InfectionsParsonnet said, noting a lot of new infections in the community. But the fact that deaths haven’t risen sharply suggests that the shots, combined with vast amounts of immunity acquired from previous infections, protect many people from serious consequences. Together, that immunity will help blunt the XBB wave, according to Poeschla. and although monoclonal antibodies are less effective with XBB, other treatments — including paxlovid, remdesivir and molnupiravir — seem to be holding up well.

Of course, there is always a real risk of prolonged COVID, which is a debilitating condition that can follow even a mild case of the coronavirus. Long-term Covid can cause prolonged fatigue, brain fog, respiratory problems, and more. TeaThere’s still a lot for us to learn about XBB and its symptoms or potential complications.

But there’s one thing we know for sure: There’s more to one benefit than not getting vaccinated. “The bivalent booster provides some protection against all omicron-based variants and is highly recommended, especially for those over 65 or those with serious other risks,” Poschla said.

Experts are still learning about COVID-19. This story contains information that was known or available at the time of publication, but guidance may change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.

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