Is the British variant of COVID-19 really more deadly as announced by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson? This is the question asked by Jacques Lapierre, a retired virologist, on Saturday.
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While it seems undeniable that the variant is more contagious, Mr. Lapierre believes that one needs to be careful before claiming that it is more deadly.
“Being more contagious, it infects more people. If our pool of people [infectées] is bigger, well indeed, that will translate into more mortality. So is it the virus that is really deadlier or is it that there are more people infected? ” he asks himself.
In recent weeks, several other variants of the virus have appeared around the world, especially in South Africa and Brazil.
The South African variant, which has been identified in 23 countries so far, is receiving particular attention because its mutation could allow it to bypass the immune protection conferred by the vaccine.
Hence the importance of monitoring it very carefully, notes Jacques Lapierre. When it comes to a variant, the virologist indicates that the variations are usually minor enough that the virus is recognized by the antibodies and, in this case, by the vaccines.
“If these variations become a little more major, perhaps in another part of the spicule, it could be [en sorte] that the antibodies produced by the vaccine would not recognize this new virus, ”explains Lapierre.
In doing so, the population would not be protected against COVID-19, even if they are vaccinated.
The chances of a virus mutation are intrinsically linked to the spread of the virus, recalls the retired virologist. Contamination must therefore be reduced to prevent a form of virus that is more resistant to the vaccine from developing.