Covid-19 Centaur variant: the new BA.2.75.2 sub-variant is born, what we know

Covid 19 Centaur variant the new BA2752 sub variant is born what

VARIANT COVID. The BA.2.75.2 variant called Centaur has given rise to a new mutation of Covid-19: the BA.2.75.2 variant. Scientists fear its ability to resist antibodies. What do we know about this mutation?

[Mis à jour le 20 septembre 2022 à 16h19] The Centaur variant, or BA.2.75 by its scientific name, detected in July 2022 appeared to be a threat. Until this mutation gave rise to a new sub-lineage of the Covid-19 virus: the BA.2.75.2 variant. The new kid on the big family of coronavirus arrives with three mutations on the Spike protein, in particular at positions determining the ability of a variant to escape the immune response created by vaccines and antibodies. The BA.2.75.2 sub-variant would thus have a “significant capacity to escape the neutralizing action of antibodies” and a resistance “five times greater than that observed in BA.5”, writes the doctor and columnist for The worldMarc Gozlan who cites a study by the Swedish researcher Ben Murell supported by the publication of researchers published on September 16, 2022 on the pre-publication platform bioRxiv.

The BA.2.75.2 sub-variant is a priori likely to develop wherever its big sister, the Centaur mutation, has been detected. Discovered in India last July, the Centaur variant has spread to several European countries including England, Germany and Spain but has not arrived as far as France.

What do we know about the BA.2.75.2 variant of Covid-19?

BA.2.75.2 is like many mutations before it a variant from a subline of Omicron. It has three mutations in the Spyke protein that lead scientists to believe in its “profound capacity for immune evasion”, that is to say in its ability to escape the action of antibodies developed by the general population. .

Are the Centaure and BA.2.75.2 variants circulating in France?

The Centaure variant, closely monitored by the scientific authorities, whose High Authority for Health has not yet crossed the French borders, even if it has established itself in neighboring European countries such as Germany, Spain or the Kingdom -United. The Omicron mutation circulates mainly in India, where it has been detected, and in a few countries around the world such as the United States, Chile or Australia. If the Centaur variant is not yet in France, the HAS continues to keep an eye on its spread and stands ready to have to deal with this new mutation told us Dominique le Guludec, president of the HAS at the beginning of September. The BA.2.75.2 sub-variant has not made its mark in France either, according to the observations of the scientific authorities.

What are the particularities of the Centaur variant of Covid-19?

The Centaur variant has revealed few of its secrets. Discovered in July 2022, scientists are beginning to build a database and draw their first conclusions which seem to reflect a stronger resistance of the virus to the immune response enabled by vaccines. On the other hand, the hypotheses concerning the contagiousness of the BA.2.75.2 variant and its increased transmissibility could not be substantiated. The data that raises questions and on which scientists are attentive is the dangerousness of the virus, but it is still impossible to answer this question according to the World Health Organization, which is closely monitoring the new version of Covid-19.

However, virologists have noticed a large number of mutations, nine in all, on the Centaur variant, in particular on the Spike protein, which is responsible for the virus’s ability to penetrate and therefore infect human cells. “It’s not so much the exact mutations, but rather the number and the combinations” that are worrying, said Tom Peacock, virologist at Imperial College London to the Guardian on July 13. And to add: “It is difficult to predict the effect of so many mutations appearing together. This gives the virus a somewhat “generic” property where the sum of the parts could be worse than the parts individually”. Some researchers such as professor of epidemiology Arnaud Fontanet estimated this summer that the Centaur variant or its derived mutations could be at the origin of the eighth wave announced for this fall.

What are the symptoms of the Centaur variant?

According to the WHO, it is still too early to know if the Centaur variant is more severe than the previous mutations of Covid-19. A speech whose outline had been taken up by Dr. Indrajit Hazarika, the WHO representative in Mauritius, on July 11 on Radio Plus reported the Mauritian news site Defimedia. The specialist, however, considered “probable that the infection caused by this sub-variant is mild or asymptomatic”. However, in the same interview he noted the rapid increase in the number of hospitalizations for Covid-19 since the arrival of the Centaur variant.