New Arcturus strain of COVID-19 RESISTS antibodies, spreads rapidly across many countries
06/23/2023 // Laura Harris // 9.8K Views
The new XBB.1.16 strain of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), which descended from the B11529 omicron variant, appears to resist antibodies and can spread more rapidly compared to its predecessors.
XBB.1.16, also known as the Arcturus strain, originated from the omicron variant first identified in South Africa in November 2021. Omicron has undergone multiple mutations since its identification, giving rise to several descendant strains. Arcturus is currently the dominant COVID-19 strain in different countries including the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Singapore, China and India.
People who get infected with Arcturus commonly suffer from symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, diarrhea, fatigue, shortness of breath and conjunctivitis – the latter commonly known as pink eye. Children infected with this COVID-19 strain may experience fever, cough and pink eye – symptoms not commonly seen during the previous stages of the pandemic.
According to a study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases in May of this year, Arcturus demonstrates an ability to dominate other circulating COVID-19 variants and evade the immune system compared to the earlier XBB.1 and XBB.1.5 strains. The study authors from Japan also found that the new variant demonstrates potent resistance to various antibodies – raising concerns about its global risks.
The Arcturus variant has been under observation since April 2023. According to the Central Epidemic Command Center, an agency under the Taiwanese National Health Command Center, Arcturus and other SARS-CoV-2 strains under the XBB lineage accounted for 77 percent of all COVID-19 variants. Moreover, the center said Arcturus infections showed a four percent increase in April.
Monoclonal antibodies no longer work against Arcturus strain
Based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Arcturus strain has accounted for approximately 18 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of June 9. While the variant is believed to be more transmissible, American experts say they do not anticipate another surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
According to a recent study by the public health agency, almost all Americans possessed immunity against COVID-19 last fall. Of the 96 percent of Americans aged 16 and up with immunity, about 23 percent had it from a previous infection while 26 percent obtained it from the COVID-19 vaccines. Almost 48 percent had hybrid immunity – the combination of protection from vaccination and infection.
American virology expert Dr. Lin Xiaoxu said in a statement that individuals previously infected with the initial stages of the omicron variant may have other antibodies that could still be effective against the current variant. However, he also noted Arcturus’ significant ability to resist multiple antibodies.
According to the Epoch Times, monoclonal antibodies once effective against the XBB lineage have now lost their broad efficacy. This indicated that the virus’ evolution has surpassed the progress of existing vaccines.(Related: New “Omicron” variant so far detected ONLY in the “fully vaccinated.”)
All hope is not lost, however, as Lin recommended the use of ivermectin to prevent Arcturus. According to him, ivermectin – much maligned by the mainstream medical establishment – helps reduce the chances of infection. Data from India showed that the anti-parasitic drug reduces COVID-19 infection rates among health care workers.
Lin recounted that ivermectin was not promoted initially due to commercial interests favoring the COVID-19 vaccines. However, the affordable medication is also becoming more and more recognized in preventing and treating COVID-19 – regardless of what strain causes it.
Pandemic.news has more stories about COVID-19 and its different variants that circulate.
Watch this clip explaining how the XBB 1.5 variant is more likely to infect fully vaccinated persons.