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There are over a dozen BA.5 subvariants with 444X+460K mutations now. BW.1 (BA. seems to have evolved its spike perfectly to match some BQ.1 (BA. subvariants, with 444T (the fastest-growing of the 444 mutations), 460K, and 144-. A lot of BQ.1 subvariants do have the pure-escape mutation 346T also though (I would presume there will be multiple BW.1+346T subvariants given a reasonable level of spread). One thing that is interesting is the large number of ORF mutations. BQ.1 has a different even larger collection. This isn't something I've noticed to nearly this degree with the evolution of other post-BA.2 saltations. ORF mutations can lead to faster within-cell replication (and thus faster spread and increased severity), or can be randomly tied on with the spike mutations and have no effect, but we have no good model for how this works. https://cov-spectrum.org/explore/World/AllSamples/Past6M/variants?nextcladePangoLineage=bw.1&


If you're interested in the latest discovery of new variants, there is a discussion forum here for scientists who report on the latest sequences submitted: https://github.com/cov-lineages/pango-designation/issues




Interesting but worrisome, seems to be so many Omicron sub variants & each new offshoot always seems the common thing in these discoveries is "immune escape"


Presumably that’s one of the primary factors in any new variant becoming widespread enough to be noticed, no?


Exactly. A viruses goal is to find a host, replicate, and mutate if needed to maintain its propagation abilities.


That’s how selection pressures works, for any virus really. But it’s very visible to us now because we are doing so much sequencing of SARS-COV-2, and it’s a virus that mutates fairly rapidly.