Dr. William Schaffner offered his insights on the most recent COVID strain, HV.1, which belongs to the Omicron lineage.
Professor Schaffner, specializing in infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, issued a warning that the COVID strain HV.1 displays a high level of transmissibility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HV.1 has now become the prevailing strain in circulation across the United States.
Professor Schaffner elaborated, stating, “In my general assessment, the descendants of Omicron, including HV.1, are generally highly transmissible.”
The Omicron variant is reported to be firmly established, although vigilance is essential. As vaccine-induced immunity wanes, there is an increased risk of hospitalization this winter for vulnerable groups who do not receive a COVID booster vaccine.
Professor Schaffner expressed concern that in the United States, there is the potential for a resurgence in hospitalizations. Nonetheless, there is some “reassuring” information from immunologists who suggest that the revised COVID vaccine should offer significant protection against severe illness.
Thus far, there is no evidence that HV.1 can evade the immunity provided by COVID vaccines, and it does not appear to cause more severe illness in comparison to other COVID strains.
Professor Schaffner stated to Verywell Health that we should anticipate ongoing mutation and the emergence of successive variants, each one following the others, leading to a mix of sub-variants.
As for COVID symptoms, they can encompass a wide range, with the NHS listing the following:
- A high temperature or chills (a high temperature implies feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back, and you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, persistent cough, characterized by prolonged bouts of coughing for over an hour or three or more episodes in a 24-hour period
- A loss or alteration in your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
The majority of individuals experience an improvement in their condition within a few days to a few weeks after contracting COVID.