New variants of Covid-19: “We still do not know the evolutionary potential of this virus”


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The Covid-19 pandemic in Francedossier

Scientists around the world are closely monitoring the evolution of Sars-Cov-2, which can change the health situation again in the event of a major mutation. Virologist Etienne Simon-Lorière takes stock of the risk of a potential disruptive mutant.

They are the ones who have changed the equation every time we thought we had controlled the epidemic. Variants have emerged over the months and the evolution of Sars-CoV-2. But while Covid-19 is back on a new wave in France and Europe, no major mutation seems to upset the health chart for the time being like the delta variant did in the spring. Therefore, we can legitimately wonder if the virus responsible for Covid-19 continues to evolve. Yes, responds Etienne Simon-Lorière, virologist at the Institut Pasteur, but Delta, currently dominant, crushes all the competition. For the moment. The scientist provides an update for Liberation on the recently detected variants and on the evolutionary potential of Sars-CoV-2.

Does the absence of a major new variant mean that Sars-CoV-2 evolves less rapidly than before?

The virus continues to evolve at the same speed. It accumulates about two changes in its genome every month. The worrisome variants are usually anomalies from this point of view …


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