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Covid-19: Omicron should bring the world out of the pandemic phase, says the EMA

2022-01-11T20:09:57.472Z

The spread of the Omicron variant will gradually transform the Covid into an endemic virus, like the flu virus, estimates the E



Good news to be taken with caution.

Although the disease is still in the pandemic phase, the spread of the Omicron variant will turn Covid-19 into an endemic disease that humanity can learn to live with, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Tuesday.

The European regulator has also expressed doubts about the administration of a fourth vaccine to the population, saying that the injection of repeated doses was not a "sustainable" strategy.

“Nobody knows exactly when we'll be at the end of the tunnel but we'll get there,” said Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine strategy at Amsterdam-based EMA.

"With the increase in immunity in the population - and with Omicron there will be a lot of natural immunity in addition to vaccination - we will move quickly towards a scenario which will be closer to endemicity," added the manager at a press conference.

"We are still in a pandemic"

But, he stressed, "we must not forget that we are still in a pandemic".

A point of view shared by the European branch of the World Health Organization, which also noted that it was currently impossible to qualify the virus as endemic, like the flu virus.

“We still have a virus that evolves quite quickly and poses new challenges,” said WHO Europe emergency manager Catherine Smallwood.

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More than half of Europeans could be affected by the Omicron variant within two months in view of the current "tidal wave", according to WHO Europe.

The latter also warned that fighting the Covid-19 pandemic with booster doses of current vaccines was not a viable strategy, an opinion shared by the EMA.

Multiplying the booster shots is not viable, says the EMA

“If we have a strategy where we give boosters every four months, we'll end up potentially having immune response issues,” Cavaleri said.

"And secondly, there is of course the risk of the weariness of the population with the continuous administration of booster doses," he added.

Read alsoCovid-19: should we already talk about a fourth dose?

Instead, countries should start thinking about spacing out boosters at longer intervals and giving them in early winter, like the flu shot, he said.

Although Omicron appears to be more contagious than other variants, studies have shown a lower risk of being hospitalized after infection with this variant - estimated to be between one-third and one-half the risk with the Delta variant, according to the EMA. .

Source: leparis

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