The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that certain features of the Omicron variant, its global spread and the ability to have a large number of mutants, could change the pattern of the corona. As per reports, the Omicron variant is now present in 57 countries. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned in a press briefing that it could spread more rapidly than previous variants.
The WHO Chief said that we are now beginning to see a consistent picture of a rapid increase in transmission(s), although for now it is difficult to determine the exact rate of increase relative to other variants. Emerging data from South Africa suggest an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, he said, but more data is needed to draw strong conclusions.
‘Evolutionary nature of virus makes it more transmissible’
WHO experts have said that although some evidence may suggest that Omicron causes milder symptoms than the earlier delta variant, it is still early days to draw any final conclusions. According to Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, however, the evolutionary nature of the virus makes it more transmissible as it mutates itself.
As studies of the latest COVID 19 variants are evolving, the WHO says it still needs days or weeks to come in, analyze global epidemiological data, and then draw any firm conclusions. According to WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan, it is still too early to say that Omicron could cause a significant reduction in vaccine effectiveness. WHO has called on all countries to increase surveillance, testing and sequencing and to submit more data to the WHO Clinical Data Platform using the updated online case reporting form.