Philippe Froguel: “The next variant will undoubtedly be French”


INTERVIEW – The geneticist, professor at Lille-2 University and Imperial College in London, is very critical of the variant surveillance policy carried out in France.

According to this expert, the surveillance of variants by Public Health France and the ANRS emerging infectious diseases reveals a truncated picture of the epidemic. It would be necessary, according to him, to sequence 5% of the positive samples to have a clearer vision.

LE FIGARO. – What is the situation of variants in France?

Philippe FROGUEL. –The variants, in particular the British variant B.1.1.7, are becoming hegemonic for new infections. Very soon the English variant, whose presence is increasing at the rate of 50% per week, will be the only one on the territory, as has been observed in Great Britain and Israel. But its exact proportion is uncertain. Because the results of so-called “screening” PCR tests, developed by private biology laboratories, overestimate the share of the English variant by 30% to 40%. And these tests have difficulty in identifying and assessing the respective weight of the South African and Brazilian variant.

Last week we found 34%

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