Covid-19: what do we know about the XD variant, which has infected several dozen people in France

The Covid epidemic is on the rise again in Nord - Pas-de-Calais, here are some explanations.
The XD variant, formerly called Deltacron, currently circulates in France. (©JB/Lille news/Illustration)

A few weeks ago we thought get out of the epidemic. But now the numbers are starting to rise again, breeding with them some concerns. Emmanuel Macron even mentioned the possibility of putting on the mask again, which is no longer mandatory. from March 14, “if things were to go downhill again.”

And with this recent spike in cases, the XD variant is starting to be talked about.

A new variant, really?

It only has the name again, as some epidemiologists warned of its existence as early as January 2022. Until now it was called Deltacron. This variant, combining Delta and Omicron, is now officially called XD.

It has been worrying the authorities since February 18, 2022: “A Delta/Omicron recombinant is the subject of reinforced monitoring by the laboratories of the Emergen consortium, Public Health France and the CNR virus for respiratory infections”, indicates Public Health France, in your website.

Most of the genome of the XD variant corresponds to the Delta variant, but a large part of the S gene corresponds to the Omicron variant.

Public health France

“It’s not a new virus,” he recalls. actu.fr Professor Henri Agut. “Delta and Omicron infected the same person and their genetic material was mixed. This is how another variant came out, XD, which then infected other people. »

It is, according to him, a phenomenon of recombination.

How many infections?

As of March 14, 2022, 41 infections with XD have been detected in France. Cases that come from various regions, from all over France.

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“A very small number,” according to Jean-Paul Stahl, an infectious disease specialist at Grenoble University Hospital, contacted by actu.fr.

Should we worry about that?

“To date, very little data is available on the characteristics of the XD variant”, Public Health France section.

On the other hand, the organization ensures that since the beginning of January 2022, XD circulates in France and in Europe. At low levels, but not non-existent.

“Until now, the Deltacron has remained somewhat anecdotal. Maybe that’s how it will continue to be, ”says Henri Agut.

Hundreds of variants are born regularly, it does not mean that all are more dangerous than the others. Natural selection decides.

Professor Henry AgutFormer director of the virology department of Pitié-Salpêtrière

“It’s too early to say anything about it,” sweeps Dr. Stahl. “At the moment, it is a variant among variants. »

In any case, at the moment it is Omicron that we have to worry about. At the end of February, it represented 99.9% of the interpretable sequences in France, according to Public Health France. The even more contagious BA.2 subvariant begins to dominate.

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