Global Summer Resurgence: Covid Makes a Comeback


A resumption of the coronavirus epidemic was observed this summer in France, the United States, the United Kingdom, but also in India or Japan. This epidemic rebound has so far been moderate, but calls for vigilance.
If, since the beginning of May, the WHO no longer considers the coronavirus pandemic as a global health emergency, “the virus continues to circulate in all countries, continues to kill and to change”, underlined on Wednesday its director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. during a press conference.

Its EG.5 version, nicknamed Eris by some scientists, is currently the most scrutinized because it could carry the rebound. Summer gatherings and declining immunity may also play a role, some experts say.

No additional risks observed

This sub-variant of the Omicron family, member of the XBB lineage, seems more transmissible than others in circulation -probably under the effect of new genetic mutations-, and perhaps more capable of escaping immune defences.

“It has been identified in India, but also in other Asian countries, in North America, in Europe, where it tends to supplant the previous dominant strains, explained to AFP Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health of the University of Geneva.

At this stage, “the available evidence does not suggest that EG.5 poses additional public health risks compared to other circulating Omicron progeny lines,” according to the WHO. But “the risk remains that a more dangerous variant emerges and causes a sudden increase in cases and deaths”, recalled Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Lack of data

Monitoring epidemic oscillations is however more complicated, due to a lack of data since the drop in the number of tests, sequencing and the stopping of monitoring devices.

“The fog is thick on the epidemiological situation all over the world. It is urgent that the health authorities reinstate a reliable Covid health monitoring system”, according to Antoine Flahaut, who pleads in particular for the analysis of wastewater in Europe. .

Over time and waves, the impact of Covid on hospitalizations and deaths has greatly diminished, thanks to the high level of immunity acquired by vaccination and/or infections. But it is not zero and the long Covids are added to it.

To better stick to the mutations of the virus, the pharmaceutical groups Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax are now preparing vaccines targeting the XBB line, as recommended by the WHO in the spring.

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