The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus could lead to “severe consequences” in some parts of the world because of its ability to change and dodge efforts to block it.
The global health organization made the observation in a technical brief about the newest coronavirus strain that was first detected in South Africa. The United States, Britain and the European Union all have responded with travel bans from countries where it has been detected.
“Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place. The overall global risk related to the new VOC (variant of concern) Omicron is assessed as very high.”
The WHO called for “enhanced surveillance and sequencing efforts” to better understand the Omicron variant and its impact on the larger society.
Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who first confirmed the new COVID-19 variant, told a TV network that the symptoms her patients experienced so far have been “extremely mild,” but she cautioned more time was needed before the seriousness in vulnerable people can be accurately gauged.
he WHO called for “enhanced surveillance and sequencing efforts” to better understand the Omicron variant and its impact on the larger society.
The rapid spread of the variant continued to worry scientists. In South Africa, daily coronavirus cases have tripled from last Tuesday to Friday with 90 percent of those cases confirmed were connected with the Omicron variant.
Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute in London, told a business daily that while border closures likely will not stop the variant from entering Britain or the United States, it may not be able to totally dodge protection by immunity and vaccines.
“[The Omicron variant is] most unlikely to fully escape immunization provided by vaccination and prior infection,” Balloux said. “With high vaccination rates and promising drugs on the horizon, a possible B.1.1.529 wave should be far less painful to weather than the Alpha and Delta ones.”