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Covid-19: should we be worried about the new BA.2.75 sub-variant, nicknamed “Centaur”, detected in France

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Identified in India in May, the BA.2.75 subvariant is gaining ground globally. Public Health France has identified three cases in the territory for the first time.

Nicknamed “Centaur”, the Covid-19 BA.2.75 sub-variant has just been identified in France. Spotted in India in May, it has since spread to Japan, the United States, Australia, Israel and Europe, including the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In a report of July 22, Public Health France lists three positive cases. These people were tested in Occitania, in the Grand Est and in Martinique.

What we know about the BA.2.75 variant

The BA.2.75 variant is a sub-variant of Omicron. “This is the first time that we have seen the emergence of a second-generation variant, that is to say deriving from an already worrying variant, BA.2, with many mutations without explanation”, explains Étienne Simon-Lorière, Head of the Evolutionary Genomics of RNA Viruses Unit at the Institut Pasteur, at HuffPost. Until now, the variants were all independent of each other.

Its particularity is that it contains “eight mutations in the Spike protein”, reports RTL. This raises fears of a virus that is more contagious or more resistant to vaccines, even if no study has confirmed this for the moment. It “seems to be able to circumvent the defense built against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus more easily thanks to small specific changes”, writes the Dutch Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in a press release relayed by Release.

The question now is whether the BA.2.75 sub-variant could become the dominant strain in France and around the world. A risk all the greater since “the majority of French people were vaccinated at the start of the year so we can imagine that immunity in September is likely to be extremely low”, underlines infectious disease specialist Benjamin Davido interviewed by CNews. The World Health Organization (WHO) has placed “Centaur” under surveillance and is following its evolution.

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