The English variant, probably more contagious, represents around 1% of positive tests for Covid-19 in France. This is indicated by the preliminary results of a survey conducted over two days last week, said the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran on January 12.

The virologist Bruno Lina, who coordinates this survey, “told me yesterday that he found approximately 1% of variant of English origin among the positive PCRs in France”, affirmed Mr. Véran during a hearing before the commission social affairs of the Senate.

We observe “a territorial dispersion which means that there is no region which would concentrate many cases”, he continued.

Read also: Covid: a cluster of the English variant in Marseille

The risk of the English situation

This investigation, the detailed results of which have not yet been made public, covers all PCR tests positive for Covid-19 for the days of January 7 and 8. Its purpose is to establish “a first mapping” of the distribution of the English variant in France, explained the health agency Public Health France on the 8th.

“What happens to England is likely to happen to us. The problem is not if it will happen to us, but when”, commented on January 12 morning on RTL Anne-Claude Crémieux, professor of infectious diseases at the Saint-Louis hospital in Paris.

“Either we are still with 1 to 2% of the virus varying on the territory, we have a little more time (…) or we are already at 10 to 20% and we must prepare to live the English situation in the days to come, “she added, as England faces an explosion in the epidemic attributed to this variant.

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Detect variant

As part of the investigation, all the positive samples from January 7 and 8 were reanalyzed using a specific PCR technique, that of the Thermo Fischer company. Unlike other PCRs, this analysis reacts differently if we are in the presence of the variant.

After this first filter, the suspect samples must be subjected to genetic sequencing which categorically determines whether or not it is the variant.

“It is an operation which will be renewed very regularly, every 7 to 10 days approximately”, declared Mr. Véran, according to which “it is very interesting, very useful”, because “it makes it possible to monitor if there is has a growth of this variant “.