The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday (Oct 21) estimated that BQ.1 and closely related BQ.1.1 make up for 16.6 per cent of the total circulating coronavirus variants in the United States.
The new emerging variants, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, have spread quickly in the country in the last few weeks, particularly in New York.
The CDC said on Friday that BQ.1 had previously made up 5.8 per cent of circulating variants, while BQ.1.1 had made up 3.6 per cent of all variants.
The two variants are descendants of Omicron’s BA.5 subvariant, which is currently the dominant form of COVID-19 in the country. US regulators have recently authorised vaccine boosters that target it.