“The arrival of this variant is absolutely inevitable”

& ldquo; The arrival of this variant is absolutely inevitable /

MISE & Agrave; DAY

As the Omicron variant begins to make its presence felt in Europe, its arrival in North America, and more precisely in Quebec, is only a matter of time, according to virology specialist Lionel Berthoux .

In an interview with LCN, the latter explained that the decision to block the borders to travelers from countries affected by this new variant will only delay the inevitable.

“You absolutely cannot prevent its spread throughout the world, unless you are a country which is an island and be able to isolate yourself completely”, proclaims Lionel Berthoux.

“L 'arrival of this variant is absolutely inevitable, ”he adds.

The one who is also a professor-researcher at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières (UQTR) considers it realistic to think that the variant Omicron could already be present in the province.

A variant that puts vaccines at risk

The virology specialist mentions that this new variant stands out for its very rapid spread and its ability to reinfect people who have already contracted COVID-19 in the past.

Lionel Berthoux indicates that the Omicron variant has around thirty mutations in its S protein, approximately double the other variants.

And the UQTR research professor fears that this variant will lead to a significant reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19.

A slight weakening of the vaccines has already been observed since the arrival of the Delta variant, underlines Mr. Berthoux.

“It is to be feared that this is even more the case with this new variant”, says t -il.

Nevertheless, the specialist in virology considers that it is far too early to quantify the loss of efficacy of vaccines caused by the Omicron variant.

“It's only been a few days since we realized that this variant was spreading rapidly in South Africa, so the experiments simply weren't done to determine the level of protection of the vaccines we already have,” says Lionel. Berthoux.

The latter believes that the emergence of this variant highlights the importance of adapting vaccines to make them more effective against COVID-19.

“It's been discussed for months and months”, indicates Mr. Berthoux.

“It seems that this time, things will finally move forward. It would be something really useful, I would even say essential, ”he adds.

To see the full interview, watch the video above.

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