Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 13
The World Health Organisation in its first technical brief on Omicron to member nations has said the variant of concern will likely outpace Delta, currently the dominant variant globally.
The world body also said Omicron could be detected with existing tests and current treatment strategies would work.
In the technical brief and priority actions for member countries titled “Enhancing Readiness for Omicron (B.1.1.529)”, the WHO said based on current limited evidence, Omicron appeared to have a growth advantage over Delta.
“It is spreading faster than the Delta variant in South Africa where Delta circulation was low, but also appears to spread more quickly than the Delta variant in other countries where the incidence of Delta is high, such as in the UK. Whether Omicron’s observed rapid growth rate in countries with high levels of population immunity is related to immune evasion, intrinsic increased transmissibility, or a combination of both remains uncertain. However, given the current available data, it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” the global body said. As of December 9, cases of human infections with Omicron have been identified in 63 countries across all six WHO regions with the spread picking up pace.
The WHO also said more data was needed to understand the clinical severity of Omicron and preliminary findings from South Africa suggest it may be less severe than Delta. All Omicron cases reported in the EU and the European Economic Area to date have been mild or asymptomatic.
On vaccine impact of the new variant, the world body said there was limited available data and no peer-reviewed evidence on vaccine efficacy for Omicron.
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