New Covid strain found in South Africa classified as 'Variant Of Concern' by WHO, named Omicron

by Health | 27-11-2021 | 302 views

Johannesburg: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday designated a new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa with a large number of mutations as being "of concern", the fifth variant to be given the designation. The WHO said in a statement that it had assigned the B.1.1.529 variant the Greek letter Omicron.

“Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology... the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern (VOC), named Omicron,” the U.N. health agency said in a statement. The WHO said it could take several weeks to complete studies of Omicron to see if there are any changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.

The change in classification came after a quickly-assembled virtual meeting of the WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution. The variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24.

The first known confirmed Omicron infection was from a specimen collected on November 9. In recent weeks, infections in South Africa have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection. The first known confirmed Omicron infection was from a specimen collected on November 9. In recent weeks, infections in South Africa have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection.

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