Omicron Covid variant poses ‘very high’ global risk and is likely to spread, WHO warns

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  • According to the World Health Organization, the Omicron COVID variant is likely to spread further and become a “very high” global risk.
  • It warned on Monday that COVID infections caused by the type of concern could have “serious consequences” for some areas.
  • The WHO on Monday issued a technical brief to its 194 member countries.

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LONDON – The Omicron COVID variant is likely to spread further and become a “very high” global risk, according to the World Health Organization, which warned on Monday that the COVID infection caused by the type of concern could have “serious consequences” for some people. “There may be. Area.

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“Given the mutations that may confer immunity evasion and possibly transmissibility benefits, the potential for omicrons to be spread globally is high,” the WHO said in its risk assessment on Monday. Technical brief to its 194 member countries,

“Based on these characteristics, the future of COVID-19 may increase, with serious consequences, depending on a number of factors, which may increase. Overall global risk related to new VOCs [variant of concern] Omicron is heavily evaluated,” the United Nations Health Agency said.

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The WHO designated the B.1.1.529 variant, which was first detected in South Africa last Friday, as a “type of concern”.

It said in its report on Monday that it is “a highly divergent variant with a very high number of mutations … some of which are related and may be associated with immune evasion ability and high transmission potential.”

known unknown

However, there are still a lot of uncertainties and unknowns about this version, it said on Monday, reiterating that sentiment.

First, experts don’t yet know how permeable the variant is and whether any increases are related to immune evasion, intrinsically enhanced transmissibility, or both.

Second, there is uncertainty about how well vaccines protect against infection, transmission, and clinical disease and death of varying severity. And third, there is uncertainty about whether the variant presents with a different severity profile.

The WHO has said it will take weeks to understand how the variant could affect diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Preliminary evidence suggests that stress increases the risk of reinfection.

Read more: A heavily mutated Covid variant emerges in southern Africa: here’s what we know so far

Preliminary data suggests that the variant is spreading more rapidly in South Africa than previous variants and that this variant may begin to trigger a new wave of infections, According to an analysis by the Financial Times,

The COVID symptoms associated with Omicron have been described as “extremely mild” by a South African doctor, who previously raised the alarm over the new strain.

read more: South African doctor who first saw Omicron COVID version explains symptoms

It is very important to remember that, so far, very few cases have been reported worldwide – in many southern African countries and a smattering of cases in the UK, France, Israel, Scotland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong, but there are none in the US yet – so it may take some time to fully understand which specific symptoms, if any, are due to the wide-scale Omicron variant.

It is too early to tell the extent to which the new version poses a health risk globally; The international community has already observed several rapidly virulent strains of COVID-19, with the “alpha” variant and then the “delta” variant, currently the dominant strain globally.

COVID vaccines have been of great help in reducing serious infections, hospitalizations and deaths, so newer variants are closely monitored to assess whether they can affect the efficacy of vaccines .

mitigation plan

WHO urged member states to increase surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand variants including omicrons, and to increase community testing to determine whether omicrons are circulating in the community.

It called on member states to expedite the vaccination of COVID-19 “as soon as possible,” especially among high-priority groups.

News of a new version last Friday shook global markets but European markets climbed Monday morning. The region is already grappling with a sharp rise in infections caused by the delta variant, putting pressure on health services in several countries, including Germany and the Netherlands.

WHO urges countries to take mitigation measures to prepare for potential increases in COVID caseloads “and the associated pressure on the health system, ensure mitigation plans are in place to maintain essential health services and that necessary health care resources are in place to respond.” There are potential surges.”


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