COVID-19: a new type of omicron?  What we know about the 'BA.2' strain that can revive the fifth wave

COVID-19: a new type of omicron? What we know about the ‘BA.2’ strain that can revive the fifth wave

The health authorities said a few days ago that France was past the peak of the epidemic for the fifth wave of Covid-19. However, the scientific community notes a rebound in pollution in the short term. Epidemiologist Professor Antoine Flaholt conjures up the thesis of a new alternative that would have re-launched the virus in the country.

“We have reason to be optimistic.” Words come from Gabriel Atal, guest of this Tuesday, January 18th on the morning of CNews. On the Covid-19 front, the government’s spokesperson justified his optimism at the slow decline observed in the country’s intensive care units, the remark drawn the day before by Professor Arnaud Fontanet, an epidemiologist from the Pasteur Institute and member of the Scientific Council: Epidemiological peak ‘passed in France’.

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Graphs. COVID-19: It seems that the peak of the Omicron wave has arrived in France, so what now?

However, on Tuesday evening, France recorded an alarming number of new infections: 464,769 French people have tested positive for Covid-19 during the past 24 hours. Over the past seven days of France An average of 309,433 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded every day : The pointer begins to rise again. Alarming, while the scientific community has been counting on a rapid drop in pollution.

A new kind of Covid-19 in France?

According to Professor Antoine Flaholt, an epidemiologist and director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva, this latest rebound in pollution could be caused by a new type of Covid-19. The professor explains: “In the UK, the number of Covid-19 cases is halved every seven days. France was expected to follow the UK’s lead, with a two-week delay: this is not the case. And that is the case. It could be The new variable is at the root of the recent increase in pollution rates that we are observing.

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“Sub variant” of India

of its variable name.Bachelor 2(“BA.1” for the original strain of the Omicron variant), this strain has been monitored in India and Singapore. It appears to be responsible for the continuing epidemic in Denmark. It can become the majority in this country”, says the epidemiologist. Also “BA.2” strain was discovered in Belgium. This variant of Omicron is also called “stealth Omicron”, because this new strain managed to pass under the radar of the sequencing tools used today .

A more contagious alternative?

According to Professor Flahault, this is the Omicron sub-linear “that should be talked about soon”: “It’s a variant that looks close, even if at the moment we have little data about its ferocity or its ability to escape.”

The professor claims that this strain has not yet been “classified by the World Health Organization as a different type of concern.” […] However, it is still believed to be highly contagious.”

What are the scenarios in France?

Should the French health authorities at the present time dismiss any possibility of a decline in pollution? “I’m not entirely sure what forecasts we can make today at the height of the fifth wave and in the event of a possible rapid regression. We are not in a very favorable position in France to talk about the epidemic’s decline.” , says Professor Antoine Flaholt.

The epidemiologist also confirms that the country could witness a situation similar to what happened on December 15: “We thought we had reached the peak of the epidemic, but the Omicron variant re-spread the virus. This time this new strain is likely to return to contamination again.”

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