The ‘omicron’ Covid variant, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is likely to spread further and poses a “very high” global risk. The WHO issued a warning on Monday that an increase in Covid infections caused by the concern variant could have “severe consequences” in some areas.
“Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of Omicron spreading further at the global level is high,” said WHO.
Future Covid-19 surges may occur based on these characteristics, with severe consequences depending on various factors, including where waves arise. The World Health Organization has determined that the overall global risk associated with the new VOC [variant of concern] Omicron is exceptionally high.
However, there are still significant uncertainties and unknowns about this variant, and research is still ongoing.
To begin with, no one has any knowledge about how transmissible the variant is or whether any increases are due to immune escape, intrinsic increased transmissibility, or both.
Furthermore, there is still debate about how well vaccines protect against infection, transmission, and clinical disease of varying severity and death. Thirdly, it is unclear whether the variant has a different severity profile or not.
As told by WHO, it will take at least weeks to determine how the variant will affect diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. However, preliminary evidence suggests that the strain is more likely to reinfection.
However, only a few cases have been reported around the world thus far. There have been minor cases in several southern African countries and the United Kingdom, France, Israel, Scotland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong. Still, none have been reported in the United States. As a result, it has been suggested that it will take some time to fully understand what specific symptoms are associated with the new omicron variant on a larger scale.
The WHO has urged all member countries to increase surveillance and make efforts to better understand variants such as Omicron and conduct community testing as soon as possible. WHO also urged its member states to expedite Covid vaccinations, particularly for high-priority groups.