Home LATEST NEWS HEALTH Beware of weariness: the BA.2 sub-variant remains dangerous | Coronavirus

Beware of weariness: the BA.2 sub-variant remains dangerous | Coronavirus


victims in the country”,”text”:”BA.2 is a significant health risk, in the same way as BA.1 was a few months ago, when it caused 7000 victims in the country”} }”>BA.2 is a major health risk, just as BA.1 was a few months ago, when it killed 7,000 people in the country.warns in an email CoVaRR-Net, an interdisciplinary network of researchers that was set up to contribute to the Government of Canada’s overall strategy to deal with the threat posed by new emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 .

BA.2 is highly transmissible (more than BA.1, the first sub-variant of Omicron, which was dominant from December to February last), it is recalled, because it is able to infect and to spread more easily in our cells.

Thoughtful and appropriate protective measures

Because of this high transmissibility and rapid spread just as public health measures have been reduced, the CoVaRR-Net website reads, BA.2 is fueling the sixth wave of the pandemic and increasing both the health risks to Canadians and the need for thoughtful and appropriate protective measures.

Although one may have the impression that the BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants are more benign than the Delta variant and that the health risks associated with COVID-19 are decreasing or have passed, adds CoVaRR-Net, BA.2 remains a serious threat that causes serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths among Canadians every day.

I think there is COVID fatigue and people are underestimating the impact BA.2 can have on health. »

A quote from Denis Leclerc, virologist at the CHU de Québec Research Center, member of CoVaRR-Net

The usual instructions, which probably do not need to be repeated here, remain in place on the arrival of the Easter weekend, during which family gatherings will multiply, added Mr. Leclerc.

The XE variant, hybrid of BA.1 and BA.2

Beta, Delta, Omicron, BA.2 and now variant XE (of which not much is known yet, except that it is a hybrid of the BA.1 and the BA.2)… The list keeps growing and the coronavirus, as we have often heard, is here to stay.

The vaccines currently available to fight it will never be able to eradicate it entirely since they train the immune system to recognize the now famous spike protein on its surface. However, it is this protein that mutates and gives the virus its new identities, allowing it to at least partially escape the counterattack.

To be able to hope to defeat him once and for all, we must change our strategy.

We absolutely have to start thinking about the emergence of new vaccines better adapted to the strains that are circulating now, a bit like we do with the flu virus, which contains four different strains. We may have to think about developing vaccines that are going to contain several different proteins to be sure that we are given a broader spectrum of protection against coronaviruses. »

A quote from Denis Leclerc, virologist at the CHU de Québec Research Center, member of CoVaRR-Net

With this in mind, Mr. Leclerc and his colleagues are currently working on designing a vaccine that would teach the immune system to recognize a protein called the nucleocapsid.

Without this protein, the researcher explained, the coronavirus would be unable to replicate. It is therefore unthinkable, in an evolutionary and survival context, for this protein to mutate.

The vaccine from the Quebec firm Medicago, which was approved in Canada but rejected by the World Health Organization because the biomedical minority belongs to the tobacco company Philip Morris, partly targets the nucleocapsid.

It will give us vaccines that will provide protection against any strains that may emerge, said Mr. Leclerc. There are many proofs of concept […] on the use of nucleocapsids in vaccination, but it’s not something that has been marketed or used on a large scale in humans.

I think we got there with the coronavirus. It is an approach that is really worth exploiting because basically, that is what would get us out of this pandemic.

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