16 cases of contagion of the Covid BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants, called “Hellhound” registered in Mexico

In Mexico, 16 cases of contagion of the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants, known as “Hellhound”, have been reported due to their rapid transmission and greater contagion capacity, which descend from BA.5, which was one of the variants of the SARS-Cov-2 virus with the greatest presence worldwide: Omicrón.

According to health authorities, including the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases, the Mexican Social Security Institute, the Nuevo León State Public Health Laboratory, the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, the National Institute of Medicine Genomics and the Yucatan Medical Research Unit, cases have been reported in Mexico City, Nuevo Leon, Baja California, the State of Mexico, Yucatan, and Chiapas.

The BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants have greater transmissibility compared to previous strains, up to 30 percent more; and the symptoms that trigger are cough, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, nasal congestion, fever, muscular discomfort, dyspnea, and loss of smell or taste.

According to the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), there are currently no epidemiological data that indicate greater severity of the disease; however, the mutations have given the BQ.1 subvariant an advantage in evading the immune system, as well as greater global spread.

So far, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France are the three countries that have reported the most cases of the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants. Its appearance was first reported in Nigeria in July 2022 and has spread to 65 nations.

“Although the number of genomes reported is low, it is probable that there is an increase in the number of associated cases, as observed in the US and Europe,” estimated the Mexican government institution.

Secretaría de Salud

According to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is expected that between mid-November and early December 2022, more than half of infections will be due to these variants. By early 2023, more than 80% of cases are expected to be due to BQ.1 and BQ.1.1.

The BQ.1 subvariant has mutations in the Spike protein, specifically in the RDB domain, which confer its evasion of the human immune system and greater affinity to the receptor. These mutations are reported as K444T, N460K, L452R, and F486V.

Additionally, there is the BQ.1.1 variant that contains the same BQ.1 mutation plus the R346T mutation, which is shared by the BA.5 variant.

TYT Newsroom



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