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Coronavirus: “high probability” of new “possibly more dangerous” variants | Coronavirus

The pandemic is far from over, note in a statement these experts, meeting Wednesday, who advise the director general of the WHO, adding: There is a high probability of the emergence and spread of disturbing new variants, possibly more dangerous and even more difficult to control, than those already listed by the UN agency.

Recent trends are worrying. Eighteen months after the declaration of an international public health emergency, we continue to chase the virus and the virus continues to chase us, underlined the president of the committee, the French Didier Houssin, during a press briefing.

For the moment, the WHO lists four so-called disturbing variants: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

The Delta variant, first listed in India, is spreading at very high speed across the world causing a strong resurgence of the pandemic. Much more contagious than the others, it is a little more resistant to vaccines even if they continue to protect well against the most serious cases of COVID-19 and deaths.

Professor Houssin underlined that the committee made two main recommendations: to defend equitable access to vaccines and not to take initiatives with little scientific justification such as a third dose of anti-COVID vaccine, proposed in particular by the Pfizer-BioNTech group.

It is necessary continue to tirelessly defend equitable access to vaccines and equitable distribution of vaccines in the world by encouraging dose sharing, local production, the liberation of intellectual property rights, technology transfers, and the ramping up of production capacities and of course the necessary funding to implement all these activities, said Professor Houssin, former Director General of Health in France.

Vaccine inequality has been denounced for months by the WHO, NGOs and the countries which are victims of it.

When the United States or the EU aim to vaccinate the vast majority of their population in the coming weeks, the most disadvantaged countries barely reach 1% of their population protected.

But Didier Houssin also believes that he is essential not to be sidetracked by initiatives that could worsen inequity in access to vaccines, recommending a 3rd dose, whereas today the scientific data do not really justify it, if we consider the situation at the global level.

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