Should we be concerned about the “Henri Mondor” alternative that was discovered in Créteil and placed under surveillance?

Virus – A virus mutation detected in mid-February at Creteil Hospital in early March in nearly 2% of positive cases has been detected by the French Public Health Rapid Investigation Department. Here’s what we know about this new alternative.

Among the many mutations of SARS-CoV-2, some are of more concern than others. This was rightly the case with the variant of British origin that is more contagious, and most likely to lead to a severe form which today accounts for 76% of pollution, according to Public Health France (SPF). This may also be the case for a variant discovered in CHU Henri Mondor in Créteil, through the genomic sequencing platform run by Public Health France whose role is to identify and monitor virus variants.

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The variants send France to the third wave

At the beginning of February, a hitherto unknown variant was detected in four people at the Albert Chenver Hospital, which is located close there and belongs to CHU. “A cluster appeared in a nearby hospital to us, which showed that these four were infected with a new virus,” Details Professor Jean-Michel Polotsky, Head of the Virology Service at Henri Mondor Hospital. The virologist and his team quickly sent the information to Public Health France, which they work with to sequence 1,000 genomes per week, as well as to colleagues from the Four Corners of France. Then the new mutation was found on a patient in the Dordogne, and then in a nursing home in Brittany, at the origin of the source of the infection. It sufficed to put the “Henri Mondor variant” under surveillance, although none of the 190 affected subjects developed a more severe form than average. “It has become a different kind of interest, with the shift of society, that is, between people who do not belong to any group.” Confirms Jean-Michel Polotsky.

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1.8% of cases in a recent Flash poll

In a press release issued on Tuesday, March 30th, Aid Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris provides some details about the path of this alternative, which “It is now actively circulating in France” : Within four weeks of its discovery, the new alternative Henry Mondor It was found in 29 patients of various geographical origins (Ile-de-France, southeast and southwestern France). Its detection frequency has continued to increase since many groups have been identified, and it is increasingly present in samples tested by the Henri-Mondor AP-HP hospital platform. ” Thus, according to the latest flash survey dated March 2 and carried out by Santé Publique France – which is sequencing positive samples for Covid-19, randomly selected – this mutation represented 1.8% of the sequenced strains in France while the English variant was found in 63% of the tests. .

It remains to be seen what the next surveys, which are taken every two weeks, will offer. Based on their results, the variable will or will not be classified as a particular concern. “It is not the number of cases simultaneously that matters, but the dynamic development.” The virus, Professor Pawlotsky confirms, for whom “Two points are not enough to draw a direction. You need three points.” According to the WHO classification, SARS-CoV-2 variants are now evaluated for their severity. Then they are considered to be under surveillance – these are the variables of importance – or indeed of concern (see the public health table in France below). Actually, “All variables must be monitored to disappear.” Leading Jean-Michel Polotsky. “Some variables will disappear, and some will increase in proportion. It’s like a poll in politics: We take samples and look at developments.”

Another trait that cannot be neglected, the “Henry Mondor variant” carries 17 to 18 mutations. This means the same risks of resistance to a vaccine developed against Covid-19. “There is a qualitative aspect that must be taken into account: some mutations can be more troubling than others. But the quantitative aspect is also important: the more the virus carries mutations, the more these mutations can escape from the equivalent antibody.” According to Professor Pawlotsky. Whenever seven to eight of them increase directly onto the “spike” protein, this coat allows the virus to infiltrate cells and target antibodies. Also present in this variant, “The N501Y and L452R mutations, which have already been observed on other viral variants, appear to improve the interaction of the” spike “protein with its receptors and reduce the action of neutralizing antibodies., Indicates AP-HP.

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  • Will the variants make it necessary for a third dose of vaccine to be injected?
  • How virologists at the Pasteur Institute are tracking types of Covid-19

If Henri Mondor Hospital has already planned to monitor the characteristics of the virus in the laboratory to determine if it is more contagious than others, the AP-HP warns in its press release about this. “Further studies will be necessary to find out whether the ‘Henri-Mondor’ variant is more or less infectious or more infectious than other known variants, if it is also detected through various virological tests, if it is associated with different clinic forms of severity and / or If its sensitivity to the effect of antiviral treatments and vaccine prevention is weakened by the presence of its many mutations. “

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