"Clearly, in South Africa, Omicron is transmitted more," begins Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House adviser on the health crisis, in an interview with CNN this Sunday, referring to the "vertical" curve of the number of new cases in this country.

“But so far, even though it's too early to draw any firm conclusions, it doesn't look like it has a high degree of seriousness,” he said.

"So far, the signs regarding gravity are a little encouraging," he repeated.

Too early yet for definitive conclusions

However, medical experts have stressed in recent days that the demographics of South Africa's population are particularly young, and that severe cases can be expected in the coming weeks.

Laboratory studies are underway to determine if and to what extent this new variant, which has many mutations of concern to scientists, is more transmissible, capable of resisting the immunity induced by a first infection or a vaccine, or of cause more severe cases of the disease.

The fear of a decrease in the effectiveness of vaccines?

"I think there is a real risk that we will see a decline in the effectiveness of vaccines," Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, said on ABC Sunday, echoing previous statements by the CEO of the company. , Stéphane Bancel.

“What I don't know is how big,” he said.

"Will it be like what we saw with Delta, against which the vaccines have remained effective, or will we see a drop in effectiveness of around 50%, which would mean that we have to update them, ”he said.

Moderna, like other pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, has already started work to adapt their vaccine if necessary.

Omicron is now confirmed in at least 15 US states, and some 40 countries around the world, after being first detected in South Africa.

The United States has for a week closed its border to this country as well as to seven others in southern Africa.

Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that he hoped that this ban would be lifted "within a reasonable time".

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  • Omicron variant

  • Covid 19

  • Health

  • Coronavirus

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