Omicron subvariants have been mapped out before they are even detected. See diagram in blog below.
BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are starting to get a mention now. Read this.
I have also observed that BA.4 may have given in to BA.5, which got to be named a variant of concern in it’s own right, but BA.4 is making a charge now with BA.4.6 growing in competition with BA.2.75.
This is why BA.2.75 is taking such a long time to grow in prevalence in Australia. BA.4.6 is competing with it.
We have a lot of variants which are all very competitive with each other and it is not like before, when delta came it wiped out the alpha variant, the beta variant and the gamma variant, and ALSO when Omicron BA.1.1.529 came along (or BA.1) everything got wiped out too including all 240 subvariants of delta.
The situation now is where we ere before Omicron came along. We have lots of variants which are closely matched in infectionabilitiness that they are all surviving simultaneously.
My suspicion however, is that with still around some 20 plus million people permanently infected in the “virus pool” we should start to see more variants to evolve and it is not inconceivable that a new Greek letter variant may form and be more contagious than all Omicron variants. I guess it will be called “Rho”.
The Sars-CoV2 virus mutates so fast (thanks to us) that even if we had an effective vaccine to whatever we have now, we will need a new one in a matter on a month or two (not every year as for the common flu).
We have lost control of the virus and are now destined to live and die with the virus. 50 deaths a day to covid19 in Australia will become the accepted standard.
Because genetic crossover or recombination is also possible, it is not inconceivable that a more virulent (deadly) strain may form with a much higher CFR. This could restart the coronavirus pandemic in earnest. This is because “crossover” is like sex to RNA viruses that enables them to jump into a new genetic phase space that is far removed from any of the current variants. This is a real danger. Crossover has been observed countless times already. It just has not formed a more virulent variant, yet.