Covid-19, what do we know about the Bacalan cluster in Bordeaux?

As France is deconfining, a cluster of at least 46 people infected with a very rare variant of the English strain of Covid-19 has just been discovered in the Bacalan district. This will lead to anticipating the vaccination of all adults unconditionally in this area.

Where does the cluster come from?

At least 46 people from this district in the north of Bordeaux – where the Cité du Vin is located, along the Garonne – have been detected as positive for a very rare variant of Covid 19 since the weekend of May 15-16, not to mention the return of the results of the first day of the massive screening launched Friday, May 21.

“During the screening of patients, it was found that there was an abnormality and suspected that it was not a usual English variant, but having a particular mutation, this was confirmed on sequencing”, said Professor Patrick Dehail, medical adviser to the director general of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine regional agency. “We have two transmission chains linked together on these 46 cases.” The track of an “intrafamilial departure” of the contamination, which would then have been transmitted to the school of the district, closed on Thursday, was evoked.

What do we know about this variant?

“This is a variant already identified at national level but very rare so far, explained Professor Dehail. It is a “Variant of concern” (VoC), that is to say worrying, as for example the English and Indian variants ”. At this point, five variants are classified as “Variants of concern” in France, according to the health agency: the English, South African, Brazilian, Indian variants, and the one detected in Bordeaux (counted with another, almost similar, called VOC 20I / 484K). The list of “Variants of concern” may vary by country depending on the local situation.

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Called VOC 20I / 484Q, it is a derivative of the English variant, but it acquired an additional mutation (E484Q) suspected of reducing the effectiveness of the vaccines. This variant “Remains very rare internationally and in France, despite several transmission chains recently detected in Bordeaux”, for its part indicated the agency Public Health France in a point on May 21 in the evening.

So far it “Had only been detected in rare sporadic cases in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Grand Est and Île-de-France. However, clusters have recently been identified in Île-de-France and Nouvelle-Aquitaine ”, according to Public Health France.

What have the authorities decided?

All the major residents of this district located north of the city of Bordeaux, along the Garonne, will be able to be rapidly vaccinated, unconditionally, explained on May 21 to AFP the Regional Health Agency. For the rest of France, it is scheduled from May 31. Massive screening began on May 21.

→ Explanation Vaccination: what objective should be pursued by the fall?

Health authorities have asked “To anticipate the vaccination of people over 18 without conditions” in this district and the neighboring ones, “If possible in the weekend or at worst early next week”, explained Patrick Dehail. “We are working with the ministry to obtain additional doses in order to launch this early vaccination without conditions” as soon as possible. The idea then being to expand it “To the city and the metropolis”.

Is this worrying?

None of the positive cases have been hospitalized so far. “IThey have the usual symptoms or no symptoms », according to the medical director of the ARS. “We have no reason to believe that these cases will be more serious and that this variant is resistant to messenger RNA vaccines” from Pfizer and Moderna, he commented.

“We are not worried and the population has no reason to be, but it is an opportunity to remind people that the virus is still circulating and that the lifting of restrictions should not be considered as a return to health. life before without limits ”, he warned. Especially since according to him, “The Bordeaux population is relatively naive about the virus”, in a region “Relatively spared” and or “Collective immunity is for the moment very low”.

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