Among several hundred sublines of the Omicron variant, a new one may well become dominant.
On October 5, the WHO indicated in a press conference that“Omicron is still the dominant variant in the world”and that “more than 300 subvariants” are followed.
Later, in the newspaper La Dépêche du Midi, Professor Antoine Flahault, who is an epidemiologist and director of the Institute for Global Health at the Faculty of Medicine of Geneva, indicated that one of them, baptized XBBit is “derived from a combination of two Omicron sublineages”.
XBB: a first detection in Singapore
The specialist specifies that after being observed for the first time in Singapore, its propagation speed is fast to the point that“In Australia, it now represents 5% of sequenced samples, with very fast and very recent growth”.
And with cases in Europe and across the Atlantic, it could “coexists with other sub-variants that seem to share some common features with XBB”.
What about the effectiveness of the vaccine?
At the moment, this new variant does not seem to be able to evade the efficacy of the vaccines already available, nor to endanger the immunity acquired by infections of the known variants.
Alain Flahault says on this subject:
Cell-mediated immunity, the one that allows our body to fight severe forms of Covid, is not, as far as we know, circumvented by these new variants. Therefore, the vaccines, mono and bivalent, should continue to protect us effectively against the risks of hospitalization and death related to Covid..
SARS-CoV-2: A mutation that has not finished
A West of France this time, Yannick Simonin, virologist and professor-researcher at the University of Montpellier, explains: “Omicron continues and will continue to mutate regularly. This can be seen with the appearance of numerous sublineages within this variant. All of these sublineages possess one or more mutations relative to the original variant. Therefore, SARS-CoV-2 continues to constantly evolve.”.
In addition, he points out that the very fact that Omicron is the origin of many sublines, it is important that some are subjected to greater scrutiny.
“The variant [#XBB] it is likely to prevail in its turn, even coexisting with other sub-variants that seem to share certain common characteristics”. https://t.co/pOKLRp7dV4
— Antoine FLAHAULT (@FLAHAULT) October 8, 2022