where is the circulation of new variants of Covid-19?

2024-02-24 14:24:35

Around four years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the JN.1 variant is currently the majority in France and around the world. Caution is always recommended for the most fragile.

The virus has not disappeared. Around four years after the start of the pandemic, Covid-19 continues to circulate in France, with the JN.1 variant now being the majority.

According to the latest bulletin from Public Health France (SPF), dated February 12, the JN.1 variant is both the most frequently detected in France and globally.

In France, this variant has been circulating in the majority since the end of November. It represented 87% of the sequences recorded according to data from the SPF Flash survey on January 8 and 81% of the sequences on January 15.

Good news, according to SPF, the significant circulation of this variant is not accompanied by “any worrying signal in terms of public health”. The health agency, however, mentions the existence of “immune escape”, or resistance of the variant to vaccines, but assures that this phenomenon “is partially compensated by a reduction in transmissibility”.

BA.2.87.1, the new variant detected in South Africa

Furthermore, a new variant, named BA.2.87.1, was detected in South Africa at the end of January at “very low levels”, according to SPF. Coming from an Omicron sublineage, it is described as “very divergent”, since it has “more than 30 mutations and 7 deletions” in its Spike protein.

The variant has so far been detected in various homes located in South Africa, a sign that it is “circulating”. Its low number of cases and the absence of detections in other countries, however, suggest that its “competitiveness” against other variants is “relatively weak”.

Furthermore, the VUM DV.7 variant has not been detected since the end of 2023 and is only circulating at very low doses around the world.

A vaccine that remains effective

A year after the 1 and BA.2.87.1.

According to a study carried out in the United States between September 2023 and January 2024, the vaccine is 54% effective for symptomatic infection, while a Danish survey from October 2023 reported a drop to 76% in the risk of hospitalization. Dutch figures suggest a reduction of up to 71% in the risk of hospital stay for vaccinated over-60s.

According to SPF, “a vaccination booster adapted to XBB.1.5 during the last autumn campaign conferred significant protection against hospitalization for Covid-19”.

The health agency emphasizes that “even in the absence of new variants”, “an upsurge in severe forms, particularly among vulnerable people”, is possible in the absence of a vaccination booster. She therefore recommends continued vigilance for the most vulnerable and the monitoring of hygiene measures (mask, hand washing, etc.).

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