Variant BQ.1.1, question mark for new scientific advice on Covid – The HuffPost

Variant BQ.1.1, question mark for new scientific advice on Covid – The HuffPost

SCOTT OLSON/Getty Images via AFP CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health at the Southwest Senior Center on September 9, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. The recently licensed booster vaccine protects against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the newer omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP) Translated from (free version)

SCOTT OLSON/Getty Images via AFP

The Committee for Surveillance and Prediction of Health Risks (Covars) calls the current wave of the Covid-19 epidemic “moderate intensity” in its first opinion, issued this Monday, October 24.

COVID – 19 – Is it more contagious? Will he start the 8th wave again? BQ.1.1, subvariantOmicron, raises many questions. The Committee for the Monitoring and Prediction of Health Risks (Covars) in its first opinion, issued this Monday, October 24, calls out the current epidemic wave of the so-called Covid-19 of“medium intensity”. But he still remains cautious going forward in the face of BQ.1.1 and potential new variants.

“The resurgence of the pandemic in France and Europe is affecting older people and remains moderate so far, but with a dynamic that needs to be monitored.”according to successor to the Scientific Councilchaired by immunologist Brigitte Autran.

Specifically, it is the rapid growth of the Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1, which was detected in France in mid-September. It now accounts for 15% of viruses detected in mainland France and almost half in Île-de-France. Gold “BQ.1.1 immune leak level is uncertain”the Covars warn.

BQ.1.1, descendant of Omicron

Be that as it may, the epidemic which has been observed in France, as well as in a part of Europe, “it does not appear to be due to the discovery of a new variant stricto sensu”believes, but rather on a set of other factors (decline of collective immunity, climatic conditions favorable for the spread of the virus, etc.)

According to the watchdog, “Analysis of the growth rates of various epidemiological indicators suggests that we could be very close to the peak of the epidemic”. But “These encouraging signals need to be tempered” because of a “rapid growth of the BQ.1.1 variant on the territory of the state”.

descendant “BA.5”this “subordinate variant” has several mutations that could promote immune evasion. “He remains a descendant of Omicron”which makes a difference “less clear than when Omicron replaced Delta”explained virologist Bruno Lina, one of the 19 members of Covars during the press conference.

If BQ.1.1 “represents a real advantage (if it’s more contagious: editor’s note), we could see the reflection of the wave, but it won’t be visible for another week or two.”, he continued. Meanwhile, the epidemic wave that appeared in mid-September 2022 “has less direct impact on hospitals than previous waves”. But before the start of winter “Hospital capacities remain significantly reduced”the Covars warn.

Speed ​​up the vaccination campaign

Other winter infectious diseases such as flu, bronchiolitis or gastroenteritis can also affect the health system. Covars therefore recommend continuing the preventive and vaccination measures introduced in the fight against Covid.

Several levers must be like this “activated” : “vaccinate, promote mask wearing, control air quality”defends. “We are no longer for the generalization of the mask, but for responsible wearing; we also need to speed up the vaccination campaign with a 3rd booster for the most vulnerable”underlined Brigitte Autran.

The Council is also concerned with the acceptability of the measures and the mental health of the French. “It just keeps getting worse”pointed out demographer Annabel Desgrees du Lou, without being able to attribute this ailment to Covid alone.

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