what we know about XBB, this sub-variant of Omicron which could arrive in France

Yasmina Kattou, edited by Juliette Moreau Alvarez
modified to

07:44, October 14, 2022

A new sub-variant of Omicron, called XBB, has spread rapidly in Asia and is coming to Europe. It now threatens to establish itself in France. More resistant to the immunity acquired so far, he worries. However, current vaccines would remain effective against this cousin of BA.4 and BA.5.

Two days ago, the government called for vigilance in the face of the increase in the number of recent cases of Covid-19. Yesterday more than 65,000 cases were recorded, against 51,000 the previous week. And with that, a new sub-variant has arrived: XBB. This sub-variant of the Omicron family is spreading like wildfire in Asia. And a little closer to home too, in Europe.

XBB escapes acquired immunity

XBB is a distant cousin of the Omicron subvariant family. It has been detected in Europe, notably in Denmark, the United Kingdom and Belgium. As the Covid-19 has no border, it could therefore be spotted soon in France. In Asia, the subvariant is even responsible for an outbreak of the epidemic in Singapore.

This strain seems to have all the capabilities to dethrone BA.5, which is currently in the majority, explains Antoine Flahaut, French epidemiologist, professor of public health and director of the Institute of Global Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva. . “XBB is now believed to have a power to evade immunity. Based on his genetic makeup, and what we can predict, predict, he particularly evades immunity acquired so far by the world population.

Effective vaccines against severe forms

On the other hand, even if it is a new strain far from Omicron, and in spite of its immune escape, the doctor reassures: the current vaccines remain effective “When you are vaccinated quadruplely”. “You are now very well protected against serious forms. Today we have no reason to think that it will not continue with the lesser known variants which are emerging”, soothes- he.

Barrier gestures, in particular wearing the FPP2 mask, coupled with the ventilation of rooms are the most effective measures to avoid infection.

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