DECRYPTION – These new sub-lines raise fears of the appearance of a fifth wave of the epidemic.
Public health policy in China has been shaken by the appearance of the Omicron variant, which is much more contagious than the previous strains that had been circulating until then. “The zero Covid strategy works little in the face of increasingly transmissible variants”, explains the Pr Olivier Schwartz, director of the virus and immunity unit at the Institut Pasteur.
“Each new variant that sets in has an advantage over the previous ones, for example with an escape from certain antibodies or an increase in its transmissibility. The Omicron lineage is clearly more infectious than the Delta variant. And the Omicron virus continues to evolve producing new sublines.” Same analysis for Mircea Sofonea, epidemiologist and lecturer at the University of Montpellier, who recalls “that the new variants are essential, because there is also an immune decline several months after an infection, in the absence of vaccine reminders”.
The “Zero Covid” strategy shows its limits in the long term, it works little against increasingly transmissible variants
Prof. Olivier Schwartz, Director of the Virus and Immunity Unit at the Institut Pasteur
Don’t let your guard down
And the Chinese strategy is likely to suffer…