These sub-variants of Omicron could “lead to a significant overall increase in Covid-19 cases in the EU in the weeks and months to come”, warned the ECDC on Friday.
Is Europe heading for a new epidemic wave? On Friday, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned in a statement about the spread of sub-variants of Omicron, which could quickly become dominant on the continent and lead to a resumption of infections. in the coming weeks.
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First identified in South Africa in early 2022, Ba.4 and Ba.5 have become dominant there. These are already in Europe: the second represented, on May 8, already “37% of positive cases” in Portugal, and could become the majority in the country “by May 22Next, say the health authorities.
So far, studies show nochange in gravityof these two variants compared to previous Omicron sub-variants, but the latter could “lead to a significant overall increase in Covid-19 cases in the EU in the coming weeks and months», Estimates the European organization. Their “high increasecould also allow them to supplant the already dominant variants within the 27. While they are probably no more dangerous than the already known subvariants of Omicron, the multiplication of cases can weigh on healthcare establishments, by causing a wave of hospitalizations, recalls the institution.
The ECDC therefore calls on States to be cautious, in particular by maintaining an important testing policy to identify variants and monitor the spread of the epidemic. The statement also highlights the benefits of vaccination, including the usefulness of a “second booster dose” among the most fragile people, even for “some or all adults 60 and olderand vulnerable population groups. “Countries should have plans in place for the rapid deployment of booster doses in these population groups“, says the organization. A sign that this subject is taken seriously, Ba.4 and Ba.5 have been reclassified”variants of concernby ECDC, Thursday.
In Europe, most states have been experiencing a lull, in terms of health, for a month. This is notably the case of France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Belgium. But contaminations seem to be on the rise again in certain nations, such as Portugal or Ireland, according to OurWorldInData. “We are landing, not only in France, but in Europe“, commented, at the beginning of May, the president of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy. “The pandemic is not over“However, nuanced the representative, adding that”the new variants will take over the current variant. We will have a return of a variant of this virus in the fall.he also advanced.
In France, these two sub-variants are not very present. In its last epidemiological point, Santé Publique France (SPF) noted that “the BA.2 sub-lineage is the majority in France, with 98.6% of the 1158 sequences of the Flash S17 survey“. If they were detected several weeks ago on the territory, Ba.4 and Ba.5 represent only a handful of contaminations: “as of 05/10/2022, seven cases of BA.4 and 15 cases of BA.5 have been identified on the territory during Flash surveys“, specified SPF.
Reinfections have however multiplied in recent months: 961,550 “possible cases” were identified, between the beginning of March 2021 and the end of April 2022, “including 96.7%” since the emergence of the Omicron variant. However, as the ECDC points out, Ba.4 and Ba.5 can escape “immune protection induced by previous infection and/or vaccination, particularly if this has waned over time“. These cases could therefore multiply, if these sub-variants spread in the coming weeks.
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