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

Yasmina Kattou, edited by Juliette Moreau Alvarez
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07:44, 14 October 2022

A new sub-variant of Omicron, called XBB, has spread rapidly in Asia and is coming to Europe. It is now threatening to establish itself in France. More resistant to the immunity gained 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 rise in the number of recent cases of Covid-19. Yesterday, more than 65,000 cases were registered against 51,000 the week before. And thus a new sub-variant has arrived: XBB. This subvariety of the Omicron family is spreading like wildfire in Asia. And also a little closer to home, in Europe.

XBB escapes acquired immunity

XBB is a distant cousin of the Omicron subvariant family. It has been demonstrated in Europe, especially in Denmark, Great Britain and Belgium. Since Covid-19 has no borders, it can therefore soon be seen in France. In Asia, the subvariant is even responsible for an outbreak of the epidemic in Singapore.

This strain seems to have all the abilities 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 notably evades immunity acquired thus far by the world population.

Effective vaccines against severe forms

On the other hand, although it is a new strain far from Omicron, and despite its immune escape, the doctor reassures: the current vaccines remain effective “When you are vaccinated quadruple”. “Today you are very well protected against serious forms. Today we have no reason to believe that it will not continue with the lesser-known variants that appear”, he reassures.

Barrier measures, especially wearing the FPP2 mask, combined with ventilation of rooms are the most effective measures to avoid infection.

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