A brief update on global SARS-CoV-2 variants:

* BQ.1.1 spreads, albeit at the low end of expectations
* XBB* and BQ* lineages are the most widespread
* Further new variants have been defined, including CK.2.1.1 leading to complex patterns
While the initial estimates of BQ.1.1's growth advantage to BA.5 were between 10-15%, the estimate has come down to ~10% more recently.

As other more transmissible variants such as BF.7 have also spread the current fitness is lower, around 6-7%.
CK.2.1.1 came a bit out of the blue but is also contributing a measurable share of cases in countries such as Spain (~9%) and Germany (~3%).

It spreads at a similar rate as BQ.1, which it also matches in terms of key RBD mutations as shown below

The current prevalence of these variants varies by country with XBB* more prevalent in Asia, BQ.1* in Africa, Europe and North America and both being infrequent in South America.

France has one of the highest BQ.1.1 shares, but its growth advantage came down to ~9% over BA.5.
Overall it appears that Europe's September wave (largely BA.5 and BA.5.2) also caused the number of BQ.1* and other variant cases to slow or stall.

A tempting, but unproven, explanation would be that the extra immunity also enables to partially contain BQ.1* and other variants.
The dynamics of the next months are a complex mix of variants, immunity and seasonal effects making predictions difficult.

While it's relatively certain that the share of BQ.1*, XBB* and other variants will rise further, their epidemic potential may not be as high as feared.
Further details can be found below. Data from OWD and GISAID via

Recommended by
Recommendations from around the web and our community.

Nice thread with an update on the variant front by @MoritzGerstung also below, coming to a similar assessment of the current situation.