WHO Still Uncertain How Deadly Omicron Is

source – chatham house

The WHO said that early evidence indicated an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron, although data are limited.


WHO Still Uncertain How Deadly Omicron Is

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated Sunday that it is not yet clear if the Omicron COVID-19 variant is more transmissible or causes more severe illness than other variants such as Delta.

The WHO said that it is unclear if Omicron is more readily passed from person to person than other variants, despite the fact that the number of individuals testing positive for this variant has increased in South Africa.

Additionally, it is unknown if Omicron causes more severe illness, although early data shows that hospitalisation rates are rising in South Africa, which may be attributed to an increase in overall infection rates.

source - the conversation

WHO verified that there is presently no evidence that the symptoms associated with Omicron are distinct from those associated with other variations, since determining the severity of the Omicron variant would require many days to weeks.

All COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant that is now dominant globally, have the potential to cause serious illness or death, particularly in the most susceptible populations, and hence prevention is always critical.

However, the WHO said that early evidence indicated an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron, although data are limited. Additional information on this issue will be released in the following days and weeks.

It said that existing PCR tests continue to identify Omicron, and more research is being conducted to determine the effect of the Omicron variant on currently available COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments.

The WHO categorised the newest SARS-CoV-2 virus variation B.1.1.529, called Omicron, as a “Variant of Concern" on Friday (VOC).

According to the WHO definition, a VOC with global public health significance exhibits one or more mutational changes, including an increase in transmissibility or a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, an increase in virulence or a change in clinical disease presentation, and a decrease in the effectiveness of public health and social measures, as well as available diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.

WHO has now urged nations to strengthen monitoring and sequencing of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, to provide entire genome sequences and associated information to a publicly accessible database, and to notify WHO of early VOC cases or clusters.

Additionally, it advised field experiments and laboratory evaluations to get a better understanding of the VOC’s possible effects on COVID-19 epidemiology, the efficacy of public health and social measures, and antibody neutralisation.

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