Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who served as a health policy advisor in the Obama administration, claims that antibodies, including those produced by vaccines, “don’t seem to work” against XBB.1.5, a new and more virulent strain of the Covid-19 virus.
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Dr. Emanuel, who currently serves as Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, made the claim during an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.
“XBB.1.5, it’s spreading very rapidly, which means it can evade and outcompete the other sub-variants,” Emanuel told Mitchell. “It seems to avoid the antibodies, but also bind more tightly to cells and that gives it the competitive advantage it needs. And unfortunately the antibodies, therefore, we have from infection or vaccines don’t seem to work.” Emanuel added that we’re likely to see a new surge in Covid due to the new sub-variant’s evasive nature.
Emanuel also told Mitchell that the only things that reliably work against the new sub-variant are “really high quality masks.”
The CDC reported on December 31st that about 40% of confirmed U.S. Covid cases are caused by the XBB.1.5 strain. In the Northeast, about 75% of confirmed cases are reported to be XBB.1.5.