The Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has appeared in more than 60 countries, poses a “very high” global risk, with some indications that it escapes vaccine protection, but clinical data on its severity remain limited, the World Health Organization said. Health Organization (WHO).
There are significant doubts about Omicron, which was first identified in South Africa and Hong Kong last month, whose mutations could lead to higher transmissibility and more coronavirus cases, according to a WHO document released yesterday.
“The overall risk associated with the new Omicron variant of interest remains very high for a number of reasons,” the paper said, reiterating its November 29 assessment.
The first facts are discouraging
“Preliminary evidence suggests the possibility of chemical immunity escaping infection and high transmission rates, which could lead to further increases (cases) with serious consequences,” the WHO said, referring to the potential for the virus to evade the immunity provided by antibodies.
The WHO cites some preliminary evidence that the number of people being re-infected with the virus has risen in South Africa.
Although preliminary findings from South Africa suggest that Omicron may be a less severe variant than Delta – which currently dominates the world – and all reported cases in Europe are mild or asymptomatic, it remains unclear. to what extent Omicron can be inherently less contagious, it adds.
“More data is needed to understand the severity profile. Even if it is less severe than the Delta variant, it is expected that hospitalizations will increase as a result of the increased transmission. “More hospitalizations risk straining health systems and leading to more deaths.”
The announcement concludes that more information is expected in the coming weeks indicating the interval between infections and their effects.