Another Mutated Variant of Covid-19 is on its Way!
All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide and can cause severe disease or death, for the most vulnerable people, and thus prevention is always key.
World Health Organization (WHO) designated the new variant of SARS-COV 2, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE). Researchers around the world are conducting studies to better understand the different aspects of Omicron and will continue to share the findings of the studies as they become available. It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible compared to other variants, including Delta. The number of people testing positive has risen in areas of South Africa affected by this variant.
It is not yet clear about the infection with Omicron, whether it causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta. Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron. There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants.
Vaccines remain critical to reducing severe disease and death, including against the dominant circulating variant, Delta. The widely used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with Omicron. Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests.