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after the death of two patients, should we be concerned about the Delta variant?

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Beware of the Delta variant. Initially discovered in India, this variant of Covid-19 is more contagious and could cause an epidemic rebound as early as this summer if nothing is done to counter it, warn the health authorities. Great Britain, Portugal, Russia and Israel are already experiencing an upsurge partly linked to this variant, of which we have also discovered a slightly different version, the “Delta Plus”.

Vaccination, the key to avoiding a fourth wave

In France, the Delta variant currently represents 10% of contaminations nationally and already 70% in the Landes, the only department still above the alert threshold in France. In the Gers, two people died. Aged 42 and 60, they had been admitted to intensive care at the Auch hospital in recent days, with a particular profile, says the representative of the Regional Health Agency in the department, Jean-Michel Baylet. “These are people who had comorbidities and were not vaccinated, because they were apparently in the refusal or non-vaccination. The call that is made is therefore a call for screening and a call for vaccination, only effective protection against the variant. ”

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In total, 14,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine are available in the Gers department. The challenge is to prevent the circulation of this variant which is not a priori more deadly, but 40 to 60% more contagious than the British variant and for which the vaccine remains effective against severe forms, recalls Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist. at Garches hospital. “Today, the messenger RNA vaccination and the AstraZeneca vaccination demonstrate very high efficacy, close to 90%, on the risk of going into intensive care and developing a serious form. We therefore have to make a major effort to make. on the vaccination of people under 50 who are carriers of this variant. ”

This will be the key, he said, to avoid a fourth wave and the return of restrictions since, according to projections by European health authorities, this delta variant should represent 90% of contaminations on the continent at the end of August.

Delta Plus identified in 11 countries

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A variant of the variant, the Delta Plus was described for the first time 15 days ago by the English health agency. It is a Delta variant, therefore Indian, but which also has a particular mutation that is found on the beta variant, South Africa.

It has already been identified very sporadically in at least 11 countries, including France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some experts wonder if it might not be more contagious. But at this stage, the director of infectious diseases at Public Health France, Bruno Coignard, is rather reassuring. According to international watch data, he said, this Delta Plus is not considered more alarming than the Delta.

Several teams are working on models to be able to anticipate the evolution of the epidemic this summer. It will depend a lot on screening and vaccination, the two measures that remain effective in countering both Delta and Delta Plus.

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