Can Omicron save us from the pandemic?

The Omicron tsunami continues to wreak havoc around the world. More and more scientists believe, in fact, that the spread of this variant, which is highly contagious but less virulent than its predecessors, could lead the world to the end of the pandemic. Should we therefore see our salvation there? The experts contacted by “Le Matin” enlighten us on the subject.

Cases of contamination with the Omicron variant continue to reach world records. This extremely contagious virus affects virtually the entire planet. The good news is that it is this rapid spread that could turn Covid-19 into an endemic disease. Indeed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and more recently the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the meteoric spread of this variant gives rise to hopes of achieving collective immunity.

While vaccinated people will have more antibodies, non-vaccinated people will develop natural protection against the virus. According to scientists, the more people positive for Covid-19, the more the share of the immune population will increase. It is even estimated that this potential collective immunity will make it possible to better deal with the appearance of a new variant. “The Omicron wave changed a lot of things in the Covid-19 pandemic cycle. Appearing for the first time almost two months ago in South Africa, this variant is today essential throughout the world. In Morocco, Omicron now dominates with a prevalence of 80% of positive cases. Over the weeks, we have found that even if this variant escapes vaccine protection a little, it could give a new status to the Covid-19 pandemic, transforming it into an endemic”, declares to the “Matin”, Pr Jaâfar Heikel , professor of epidemiology and specialist in infectious diseases. “Thanks to Omicron, it is very likely that Covid-19 will become an endemic disease with which we will have to live in the same way as seasonal flu or tuberculosis. It will be necessary to monitor this pathology like all the others and to remain vigilant, in particular by adopting barrier gestures and by following the therapeutic protocol.

It will also be necessary to adapt vaccination, which plays an extremely important role not in stopping the spread of the disease, but in combating serious forms,” recommends Professor Heikel. For his part, Dr Tayeb Hamdi, doctor, researcher in health policies and systems, believes that herd immunity, which will really slow down the spread of the virus and protect unvaccinated populations, cannot be achieved following the spread of Omicron. “Certainly, the meteoric spread of this variant in the world will help us out of the pandemic, but that does not mean that we will be able to achieve herd immunity. We must forget this idea”, slice Dr. Hamdi in a statement to “Morning”.

The latter also indicates that the virus will begin to circulate in a more limited way without putting too much pressure on our health systems. “We will soon be able to get out of the context of the pandemic with its share of constraints banning gatherings, travel… But for that, it is absolutely necessary to accelerate the pace of vaccination, in particular the third dose, and respect the barrier measures”, he insists. Our expert affirms that the Omicron variant is, of course, an opportunity that could allow us to see the end of the tunnel, but for that we must know how to seize it wisely.

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