US CDC says existing antibodies can work against new COVID variant

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US CDC says existing antibodies can work against new COVID variant © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

(Reuters) – Early research data has shown that antibodies produced by prior infection or existing vaccines against the coronavirus were sufficient to protect against the new BA.2.86 variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday.

The Food and Drug Administration in the coming days is expected to authorize the updated vaccines that target the XBB.1.5 subvariant of Omicron, and early data provide encouraging signs for the new shots, CDC said.The public health agency added that the new BA.2.86 lineage of coronavirus was not driving the current increases in COVID cases and hospitalizations in the United States, but rather attributed it to other predominantly circulating viruses.

Since CDC’s initial risk assessment last month, BA.2.86 has been identified in nine U.S. states as of Friday. The Omicron offshoot has also been identified from both human and wastewater specimens in countries including Japan, UK and Canada.

This is in contrast to CDC’s comments in August that the new variant may be more capable than older variants in causing infection in people who have previously had COVID-19 or who have received vaccines.

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