XBB.1.5 likely to become next dominant COVID variant

Dr. Alex Greninger, assistant professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says the XBB.1.5 variant is on pace to become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the Pacific Northwest sometime this month.

“It is rapidly spreading. If you were to get COVID in the month of January, if I were a wagering person, I would say it's probably going to be XBB.1.5,” said Greninger.

Greninger says the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine will still provide protection against hospitalization and severe illness from XBB.1.5 infections. Masking in indoor settings and several forms of treatments and therapeutics also remain effective. 

“The authorized therapy – small molecules like Paxlovid, molnupiravir, remdesivir – those drugs are going to work against XBB.1.5,” said Greninger. 

Download broadcast-ready soundbites on the XBB.1.5 variant. 

Additional resources:

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention variant proportions tracker

UW Medicine