- Omicron variant is rapidly overtaking the Delta variant of COVID-19, the WHO has mentioned
- Omicron has been detected in all nations the place we now have good sequencing, it mentioned
- Omicron is changing into the dominant variant that’s being detected, the WHO has mentioned
There’s rising proof to indicate the Omicron variant is ready to evade immunity however has much less illness severity as in comparison with different variants, the World Well being Organisation (WHO) has mentioned. Giving out warnings, a senior official with the WHO has mentioned the Omicron variant is rapidly overtaking the Delta variant of COVID-19 and changing into dominant world wide.
It may take a while for Omicron to overhaul Delta in some nations as a result of it will depend on the extent of circulation of the Delta variant in these nations, Infectious Illness Epidemiologist and COVID-19 Technical Lead on the World Well being Organisation (WHO) Maria Van Kerkhove mentioned on Tuesday.
“Omicron has been detected in all nations the place we now have good sequencing and it is prone to be in all nations world wide. It’s rapidly, when it comes to its circulation, overtaking Delta. And so Omicron is changing into the dominant variant that’s being detected,” Kerkhove mentioned throughout a digital questions and solutions session.
She additional cautioned that though there’s some info that Omicron causes much less extreme illness than Delta, “it isn’t a gentle illness” as a result of “persons are nonetheless being hospitalized for Omicron.”
The COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Replace, launched by the WHO, mentioned that over 15 million new COVID-19 instances have been reported globally within the week of January 3-9, a 55 per cent enhance as in comparison with the earlier week when about 9.5 million instances have been reported.
Over 43,000 new deaths have been reported prior to now week. As of 9 January, over 304 million confirmed COVD-19 instances and over 5.Four million deaths have been reported.
The best numbers of recent instances have been reported from the US (4,610,359 new instances; a 73 per cent enhance), France (1,597,203 new instances; a 46 per cent enhance), the UK (1,217,258 new instances; a 10 per cent enhance), Italy (1,014,358 new instances; a 57 per cent enhance) and India (638,872 new instances; a 524 per cent enhance), the replace mentioned.
Kerkhove mentioned the 15 million instances reported within the final seven days are a “file excessive on this pandemic” and are an “underestimate” given the challenges in surveillance world wide and COVID-19 self-tests at residence that aren’t registered.
The WHO replace mentioned that the Omicron variant has a considerable progress benefit and is quickly changing different variants.
“This variant has been proven to have a shorter doubling time as in comparison with earlier variants, with transmission occurring even amongst these vaccinated or with a historical past of prior SARS-CoV-2 an infection; there’s rising proof that this variant is ready to evade immunity,” the replace mentioned.
It mentioned that when it comes to illness severity, there’s rising proof that the Omicron variant is much less extreme as in comparison with different variants.
Citing a non-peer-reviewed retrospective cohort research from the US, the replace mentioned the findings counsel that whereas absolutely the variety of instances and hospitalisations amongst youngsters are at the moment rising within the US, the chance of hospitalisation nonetheless stays decrease in comparison with different age teams in the course of the interval when Omicron is circulating as in comparison with the interval when the Delta variant was dominant.
The replace additionally famous that since December, six research have offered proof of diminished vaccine effectiveness (VE) of COVID-19 vaccines towards the Omicron variant.
“Whereas early VE estimates towards the Omicron variant needs to be interpreted with warning as a result of potential biases, these preliminary outcomes present proof of diminished total effectiveness of vaccines towards the Omicron variant, with higher declines in effectiveness with rising time since vaccination, relative to Delta… Whereas a booster vaccination seems to enhance VE towards an infection and hospitalisation as a result of Omicron variant, extra knowledge are wanted to assess each the magnitude and period of the safety,” the replace mentioned.
The WHO Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC) mentioned that as coronavirus evolves, the composition of present COVID-19 vaccines might should be up to date, to make sure that “COVID-19 vaccines proceed to offer WHO-recommended ranges of safety towards an infection and illness by VOCs, together with Omicron and future variants.”
Kerkhove added that as Omicron enters and circulates amongst weak populations, “we are going to see a rise in hospitalisations and deaths. So please deal with this virus as critically because it must be handled. The narrative that it is the widespread chilly isn’t true. The narrative that it’s simply delicate isn’t true. So we now have to essentially combat towards it. It’s not the time to surrender.”
(With inputs from PTI)