BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 impact on COVID-19

There seems no end to the Covid-19 and its variants. After the BA.5 variant of omicron, the United States is now fighting against the successors of BA.5, namely BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are the present Covid-19 cases that’s widespread in the country. Continue reading to know more about BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 transmission and identifying symptoms of BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants of COVID-19.

What are the new BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 Covid-19 variants?

BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are sub variants of the omicron BA.5 variant. According to a recent report, BA.5 is responsible only for 11.5% of Covid-19 cases in the US. “This is the next wave. BQ.1, BQ1.1, and these other new variants have all evolved in different places but, to a degree, they share similar spike proteins that make them at least as infectious as the parental variants that they were derived from,” says Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. 

Symptoms of BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants of COVID-19

The symptoms and severity of BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 vary from person to person, claims Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. This is due to the fact that those who recently received Covid-19 or a vaccine shot are less likely to experience severe symptoms than those who are not immune to the virus. Recent findings from the ZOE Health Study, a collaborative project between researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, King’s College London, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the health app ZOE, show that BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 symptoms are more similar to those of the common cold. Below listed are some of the commonly reported symptoms of BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants. 

  • Sore throat
  • Congested nose and throat 
  • Blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • A cough without phlegm 
  • Headache
  • A cough with phlegm 
  • Rough voice
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Altered sense of smell
  • Fever 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or puking

Does the bivalent booster offer protection from both BQ.1 and BQ.1.1?

There is no clear data about how the bivalent booster works against the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. But Dr. Russo says that though the vaccine fails to protect you from the virus in the first place, it still protects a person from seriously falling ill. 


Though the symptoms of BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are similar to colds, people might often be negligent about the virus. It is always advisable to reach out to your health care provider if you persistently experience any of the above symptoms. Hope this blog on BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variant symptoms was informative.