MSU expert: Newest COVID variant is highly transmissible, treatable

January 20, 2023 - WKAR

Originally published January 19, 2023 on

The World Health Organization is describing one of the newest variants of the COVID-19 virus as the most transmissible yet. It’s called XBB.1.5.

Michigan State University infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Gulick agrees that XBB.1.5 has shown a great ability to avoid the immune system and vaccines. That means if you’ve already gotten COVID at some point, you could get reinfected.

XBB.1.5 is being detected in about 28% of COVID cases in the United States right now, up from just 2% a month ago. The new variant seems to have hit the Northeastern part of the country the hardest.

“They’re saying anywhere from 50% to 70% of the strains are that particular variant,” Gulick said. “In the Midwest, it’s more like about 7% to 10%.”

While highly transmissible, Gulick says experts aren’t too concerned about the XBB.1.5 strain dramatically increasing the number of tragic outcomes. As is the case with other variants, the groups most at risk are those who are immunocompromised, especially those older than 65, and people with comorbidities.

Read the full article here.