DECRYPTION – As Europe struggles to stem the new winter wave of Covid, the announcement of the discovery of a new “worrying” variant in South Africa has had the effect of an electric shock. What exactly do we know about B 1.1.529 at this stage?
Since South Africa’s announcement on Thursday of the discovery of a worrying new variant, panic has spread around the world like wildfire. The World Health Organization classified it on Thursday as “Worrying” and thus gave it its official name: the Greek letter Omicron. The newcomer has cause for concern: an unusual accumulation of mutations that can both reduce the effectiveness of our immune defenses and increase its contagiousness.
South Africa very quickly sounded the alert, just 36 hours after the identification of the first alarming signs: a skyrocketing Covid cases among young people in the Gauteng region (North). A sequencing campaign quickly confirmed the presence of a new variant. A few cases have been identified in Botswana, a traveler returning from South Africa exported the new virus to Hong Kong, Israel announced that it had identified three cases on its soil (including one returning from Malawi) and Belgium, a woman