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Study: Vaccines 'barely' neutralize newest COVID variants

Even "recent" boosting offers little protection, scientists claim.

Published: December 16, 2022 12:32pm

Updated: December 16, 2022 12:39pm

A scientific study is sounding an alarm bell regarding the latest COVID-19 variants, claiming that vaccines and boosters offer little protection against the newest mutations of the virus. 

The study, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Cell, claim that the BQ and XBB variants of COVID are "barely susceptible to neutralization by sera from vaccinated individuals."

The lack of vaccine effectiveness against the virus was observed in patients "with or without prior infection," the scientists said, including in "persons recently boosted with the new bivalent mRNA vaccines."

"[It is alarming that these newly emerged subvariants could further compromise the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines and result in a surge of breakthrough infections, as well as re-infections," the researchers said. 

They noted that, though the data regarding the newest COVID variants were troubling, "it is important to emphasize that although infections may now be more likely, COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to remain effective at preventing hospitalization and severe disease even against Omicron."

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