Science

Covid-19: reassuring news about Omicron – Sciences et Avenir

Anti-Covid vaccines are a priori effective against Omicron, which does not appear to be more dangerous than Delta, the variant that circulates the most in the world, senior scientists from the WHO and the White House told AFP.

“There is no reason to doubt” that current vaccines protect Omicron-infected patients against severe forms of Covid-19, Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergency manager, said in a report Tuesday night. Rare interview with AFP.

“We have very effective vaccines that have been shown to be potent against all variants so far, in terms of disease severity and hospitalization, and there is no reason to believe that would not be the case,” said Omicron, whose discovery in South Africa late A wind of panic stirs in November, Dr. Ryan hammered.

However, he conceded that vaccines could be less effective against Omicron, which is distinguished by a very high number of mutations. But “it is highly unlikely” that the variant could completely escape the protection conferred by vaccines.

– Very beginning of studies –

The WHO official stressed that it was at the beginning of the studies of a variant detected only on November 24 by the South African authorities and that since then it has been detected in dozens of countries.

“The general behavior that we are seeing so far does not show an increase in severity. In fact, some places in southern Africa are reporting milder symptoms,” insisted the doctor, as Anthony Fauci, advisor to the House, had said a little earlier. White.

It is “almost certain” that Omicron does not cause more serious cases than Delta, the US scientist told AFP on Tuesday, adding that it would be necessary to wait “at least two weeks” to see if it is even less dangerous. “There are some signs that it may even be less serious.”

However, Omicron is “clearly highly transmissible,” possibly more so than Delta, according to Dr. Fauci.

– Traffic restrictions –

The appearance of this variant has caused some panic, especially in Europe, which is already in the hands of a massive fifth wave of Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

Several countries around the world had announced border closures, especially for South Africans, angering Pretoria, which denounces the unjustified ostracism.

The European Commission asked the Twenty-Seven on Tuesday to coordinate their movement restrictions in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak and the concerns raised by Omicron, asking them once again to speed up vaccination campaigns.

Brazil, for its part, ruled out on Tuesday requiring a vaccination certificate for foreigners who arrive in its territory, after President Jair Bolsonaro compared this measure recommended by the health regulator with a “leash” for animals.

“You cannot discriminate between vaccinated and unvaccinated people to impose restrictions (…) Science already knows that vaccines do not completely prevent the transmission of the virus,” said Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga, after an inter-ministerial meeting in The presidency.

However, he said that with the precise characteristics of Omicron currently unknown, Brazil would require that unvaccinated people be “quarantined for five days.”

Norway also announced Tuesday that it will strengthen health measures to combat an outbreak of Covid-19 cases, particularly with a limited number of people for events at home, including Christmas celebrations.

– The most affected children –

Faced with the rebound in the pandemic in Europe, the WHO has also called for better protection of children, currently the most affected age group, maintaining the mandatory vaccination of the population as an option of “absolute last resort”.

To avoid further class closings and the return of distance education, the European branch of the organization advises strengthening testing in schools and considering vaccinating schoolchildren.

The Portuguese health authority has recommended that children aged five to eleven be vaccinated against Covid-19, Portugal, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, experiencing an increase in contaminations.

The Spanish health authorities have also authorized the vaccination of children between five and eleven years old, which will take place from December 15, before a rebound in cases in Spain.

And Cuba approved the emergency use of its Soberana Plus vaccine for children older than two years who recover from Covid-19.

burs-dth / ybl

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