All about BA.2 and BA.5, at the origin of the epidemic recovery in Morocco

We had forgotten her a bit, Dame Covid remembers our good memories and resurfaces with a new wave that promises us some peaks soon. Omicron is indeed present in the Kingdom with the BA.1 and BA.2 variants as well as the particularly transmissible BA.5 and on the way to becoming almost the majority today. One of the great specialists in the matter, Dr. Tayeb Hamdi, doctor, researcher in politics and health systems, was kind enough to share with a decryption of the situation.

For a few weeks now, we have been constantly alerting to the situation with the spread of the virus and the multiplication of cases of contamination which have plunged us into a wave the causes of which are the slackening of the vigilance of the population who thought prematurely of a way out of the crisis, displacements, collective immunity which is declining, ”says the specialist.

In January and February, Omicron infections were caused by the BA.1 variant, then from March BA.2, much more transmissible, followed suit, currently BA.5 is beginning to reign over the health scene in Morocco”. So much for the planted decor.

And Dr. Hamdi to continue “We have in our country a hybrid immunity, that is to say post-vaccination, and post-infectious (mixture of vaccine immunity and immunity acquired after contamination) which protects us. Except that over time its effects decline and become less significant and people affected or contaminated can fall ill with Covid in different forms of severity and extent. In short, in other words our two current variants wander as they want thanks to the aging of our immunity”.

We are currently in a new wave that is gaining momentum and the regions of Morocco are changing from green to orange then to red and in the coming days all will change to this last color. And for good reason, several upcoming events are ideal vectors for the spread of the disease in its different forms. The researcher in policy and health systems lists a few examples through travel during this summer period when the days are longer, Eid El Adha (family visit), school holidays, tourism… “so many events , he says, conducive to gatherings and promoting the circulation of people and therefore of contagiousness with regard to the relaxation of the measures that we see more and more evident”.

Doctor Hamdi is certain that ” in the coming days or in the week there will be a first peak that of the currently dominant BA.2 there is no doubt”. It will be followed by a second peak caused by the BA.5 variant in the wake of mid-June in the middle of the Eid period and the gatherings. The descent will only begin towards the end of July, beginning of August. This is a projection, albeit a personal one, that is quite tangible. It is that BA.5, which is gradually replacing BA.2 in Morocco, spreads better thanks to the aging of our immunity, and does so more quickly than BA.2, because they benefit from a double advantage of contagiousness and immune escape. The Omicron BA.5 sub-variant will therefore induce a wave sooner than BA.2 would have. BA5 is more and more dominant in the world, more contagious than BA2, spreads quickly and escapes post-vaccination immunity, its symptoms last longer thus favoring an upsurge in new cases in the coming weeks”.

The researcher in research in health policies and systems describes the symptoms of this variant with five sub-lineages of which he suspects a greater dangerousness, “Its symptoms (fatigue, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, runny nose, loss of smell and taste, etc.), instead of the 4-day average of its little brothers, instead last 7 to 10 days, and therefore, it contaminates longer”.

However, Dr. Tayeb Hamdi specifies that for the time being the data accumulated in several countries have not observed an increase in severity associated with BA.5:“There is currently no indication of any change in severity” for cases infected with BA.5 compared to other Omicron sublines. “Our health systems will not be threatened and there is no risk of having terrible impacts in terms of serious illnesses and deaths. Especially if those over 60 and people with chronic illnesses have received their three doses. There will certainly be deaths, but fewer than before ”.

The two peaks can thus pass without significant damage, recalls Dr Hamdi who insists on vigilance, precaution, barrier gestures and vaccines (3 doses) especially for vulnerable people (+60 years and chronic diseases). Dr. Hamdi’s “special care” will be reserved for “very vulnerable” peoplethose who are very old (80 years old) and have several pathologies and who, despite the three doses received, are weakened by their handicaps (cancer, heart failure, organ transplant, kidney dialysis, etc.). “They risk suffering severe forms of the disease because three or four months later, the third injection no longer has any immune effect. They must be offered the right to a fourth dose to protect them“, he explains.

Finally, he will insist that in addition to vaccines, vigilance and barrier gestures are essential to protect oneself and protect others, health solidarity is thus made. “Masks must be worn for personal protection and that of our most vulnerable loved ones, as well as respect for social distancing, especially on these holidays when family visits promote promiscuity..


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