Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5 accounts for 61.3% of U.S. COVID cases – CDC

People wear masks as a protection against the COVID-19 pandemic in New York

(Reuters) – The Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 has likely become the dominant variant in the United States, accounting for 61.3% of COVID cases in the week ended Jan. 28, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Friday.

The subvariant accounted for 49.5% of cases in the week ended Jan. 21, estimates from CDC showed.

XBB.1.5, which is currently the most transmissible variant, is an offshoot of XBB, first detected in October.

The now-dominant XBB-related subvariants are derived from the BA.2 version of Omicron.

An analysis from CDC showed on Wednesday that updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE and Moderna helped prevent symptomatic infections against the new XBB-related subvariants.

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(Reporting by Khushi Mandowara and Raghav Mahobe in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Shailesh Kuber)