WHO Calls Omicron Causes Very High Risk, But Severity Is Unknown
jpnn.com, JENAWA - Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus that has been found in more than 60 countries, carries a "very high global risk," said the World Health Organization (WHO).
There was some evidence to suggest that the new variant reduced vaccine protection, but clinical data on the severity of it was limited, the WHO said in a technical briefing released on Sunday.
A considerable amount of uncertainty surrounds the variant, which was first detected last month in South Africa and Hong Kong, and the mutation has led to higher transmission and more Covid-19 cases.
"The overall risk related to the new variant of concern, Omicron, remains very high for a number of reasons," the WHO said, reaffirming their first assessment on November 29.
"And second, preliminary evidence suggests potential humoral immune escape against infection and high transmission rates, which could lead to further surges with severe consequences," the WHO said, referring to the ability of viruses to reduce antibody-mediated immunity.
The UN agency cited preliminary evidence that the number of people re-infected with the virus had risen in South Africa.
While preliminary findings from South Africa suggested that Omicron might have a lower severity than Delta – the now dominant variant worldwide – and all cases reported in the European region were mild or asymptomatic, it remained unclear to what extent Omicron was "less virulent" than Delta, said WHO.
"More data are needed to understand the severity profile," the WHO continued.
Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus that has been found in more than 60 countries, carries a "very high global risk," said the WHO.
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