New XBB variant of Covid: what do we know about this cousin of Omicron that could arrive in France?

A sub-variant of the Omicron, the XBB variant developed rapidly, appearing in Asia in September. Its contagiousness worries scientists, although vaccines remain effective against its severe forms.

Fatigue, cough, fever and headache… The symptoms of this new variant of Covid are close to its cousins ​​BA.4 and BA.5. While it has spread widely in Singapore, it has also been discovered in Europe, especially in Denmark, Great Britain or Belgium. European 1he is now threatening to establish himself in France.

A very contagious variant

Like most Omicron strains, XBB is special contagious. This mutation as a result of several Omicron sublineages quickly spread to Singapore where 6,800 cases of Covid have been identified over 7 days. However, while it is more contagious than variants such as Delta, it does not represent the same danger as it is currently less virulent.

According to Antoine Flahault, director of the Global Health Institute at the Faculty of Medicine in Geneva, interviewed on European 1would XBB represent 5% of positive results in Australia, a proportion that is currently of less concern than for other more virulent variants.

Effective vaccines against severe forms

Despite its contagiousness, this subvariant should not increase the proportion of severe forms. For Antoine Flahault: “You are today very well protected against severe forms. Today, we have no reason to believe that it will not continue with the lesser-known variants emerging”.

Even if he is unable to escape acquired immunitynamely the protection by vaccination or previous contamination with Covid, the vaccination remains effective to avoid its severe forms.

In Singapore, where it is developing the most, the government is setting up one vaccination campaign from last Friday to carry out a preventive operation and avoid serious forms. The authorities recommend carrying FFP2 masks and the application of barrier movementsto stem the recovery caused by XBB.

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