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 22
” next, estimate the health authorities.
So far, studies show no "
change in severity
" of these two variants compared to previous Omicron subvariants, but the latter could "
lead to a significant overall increase in Covid-19 cases in the EU in the weeks and months to come
”, estimates the European organization.
" could also allow them to supplant the variants already dominant within the 27. While they are probably no more dangerous than the already known subvariants of Omicron, the multiplication of cases may weigh on the establishments of health, leading to 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 press release also underlines the advantages of vaccination, and in particular the usefulness of a "
second booster dose
" in the most fragile people, even for "
some or all adults aged 60 and over
" and population groups vulnerable.
Countries should have plans in place for the rapid deployment of booster doses in these population groups
,” the organization says.
A sign that this subject is taken seriously, Ba.4 and Ba.5 were reclassified as “
” by the ECDC on Thursday.
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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 in the process of 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 power 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 were 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 “
the immune protection induced by a previous infection and/or vaccination, in particular if this has diminished over time
These cases could therefore multiply, if these sub-variants spread in the coming weeks.