France’s top scientific advisor claims Omicron could become dominant variant

Omicron-SARS-COV-2

France’s top scientific adviser on Thursday alerted that the novel Coronavirus’s newly identified variant Omicron could become the dominant variant of Covid-19 in the European country by the last week of January.

The French government has already announced its first confirmed case of Omicron, which is considered more transmissible than all the other Covid variants, in a 50-year-old traveller who has recently returned from African country Nigeria. The health experts have claimed that Omicron is more threatening than the delta variant.

Top scientific adviser to the French government, Jean-François Delfrecy said that they should see a gradual hike of the Omicron strain and it is likely to surpass the Delta variant by the last week of January. Further, he said that at present the real threat was still the delta variant of covid-19, which is spreading in the fifth wave in France.

While commenting on the Christmas celebrations’ impact amid covid scare, Delfrecy said that the festival is not at risk if the people and the government are highly cautious about the situation. He emphasized that people should continue to maintain physical distance adding that “a booster shot of covid-19 vaccines are equally important as a precautionary measure.”

The B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant (Omicron) was first detected in South Africa last week. So far, Omicron has spread to more than 20 countries across the world. While the health experts know very little about this new variant, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated it as “variant of concern”, the health body’s top category for worrying coronavirus versions.

Meanwhile, National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) of South Africa claimed that preliminary epidemiological data suggest that the Omicron variant could escape some immunity, but available vaccines are still required. These vaccines will protect people from serious illnesses leading to death.

Maria van Kerkhove, WHO epidemiologist while addressing a press briefing said that that within few days the data on Omicron’s infectivity would be available for further research.

Since the pandemic started last year, France is already confronting the fifth wave of Covid-19 in the country, and now with the Omicron scare threat has further increased. Following rapid increase in covid-19 patients bed occupancy, at least three hospitals in the north-eastern France have imposed emergency protocol.

Issuing a warning, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said that average per day covid-19 cases probably surpass the peaks of the third wave of covid-19 that hit France in the last spring.