The World Health Organization published a statement on Monday highlighting that the new Omicron Covid strain is causing global alert – but delta infection is still the most prevalent disease worldwide at this moment.
Almost all cases come from delta variants around the world, and most deaths are occurring among unvaccinated children, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan told reporters on Monday. According to her, waiting to learn more about an omicron variant should be their priority.
WHO Still Views Delta Variant As The Primary Cause Of Pandemics
Given its unusual mutation profile and the constellation of mutations, the omicron variant poses a concern because it differs from previous variants of concern in its transmissibility.
This mutation profile strongly suggests the virus will have an advantage in transmission and be able to evade common immune protection, for instance, by evading the protection of monoclonal antibodies or convalescent serum after infection, and even by not producing some vaccine-induced antibodies, said the United States’ communicable disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday. This is not necessarily a sign that that will actually happen, but a strong sign that we should all prepare ourselves for that.
According to Global Health Watch, the omicron variant, previously known as lineage B.1.1.529, is a variant of concern. A more infectious, more dangerous, or more capable of evading public health measures, vaccines, and therapeutics means it may be more contagious. South African scientists were the first to identify the strain. Researchers in South Africa was the first to identify the omicron strain. Contrary to the first, India was the first to detect Delta.
Multiple sites have now detected the omicron strain, including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Hong Kong, and Australia. In an effort to keep the new strain from spreading to other countries, many countries have tightened restrictions on travel from southern Africa. AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson all plan to investigate and test the omicron variant. According to Swaminathan, for the moment we can assume that the existing vaccines will offer some protection against the new strain, but not full protection.
According to her, it’s extremely important for anyone out there who is still unvaccinated or has only received one vaccination, to get all the shots they need. Swaminathan believes it’s still probable that there are still a large number of people not having received their first round of vaccinations around the world. They also know that at present, it is the delta variant that’s causing the most problems around the world, he added.
The Our World In Data website shows that 43 percent of the world’s population has been immunized completely against Covid-19. The number of people that have received at least one dose is far lower in low-income countries. Global vaccine inequity, including booster doses, is often criticized by WHO because most vaccinations are administered in high- or middle-income countries.
In an interview with CNBC, Swaminathan said scientists need time to carry out experiments and collect data to help them understand what the new variant is all about. Are they interested in knowing if the variant is more transmissible than the delta? Do they find a different clinical pattern for this type of disease, is it less severe or more severe? She asked. She added that it’s also important that the variant is capable of evading immunity either after an infection or after vaccination. Researchers should also share clinical data and genomic sequence data from countries that have detected the omicron variant through WHO’s platforms so that scientists can study those samples.
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