Here’s the latest from the World Health Organization on new COVID-19 variant omicron

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A brand new report on the COVID-19 variant omicron was revealed Sunday by the World Well being Group, simply two days after labeling it a variant of concern.

The WHO mentioned it’s presently coordinating with researchers across the globe to study extra concerning the variant with present and upcoming research that discover omicron’s transmissibility, preventability, severity and remedy choices.

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How harmful is omicron?

It might probably’t be mentioned but whether or not omicron is extra transmissible than the unique COVID-19 virus or any of its variants, together with delta, based on the group. Case numbers are presently rising in South Africa the place omicron was first detected, however epidemiologists are nonetheless working to study if the unfold there’s as a result of variant or the placement. Hospitalization charges are additionally on the rise in South Africa, however preliminary research haven’t but decided if it’s particularly due to omicron’s results on the physique. The WHO clarified all different variants of COVID-19, together with delta, may cause extreme illness or dying.

It is going to take days or perhaps weeks for researchers to find out if omicron infections are extra extreme than these of different variants, the WHO mentioned. Officers additionally mentioned there’s presently no info to recommend that omicron signs are any completely different than these from different variants.

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How efficient are our defenses towards omicron?

Like different facets of the variant, the WHO mentioned it may take weeks to higher decide the likeliness of reinfection from omicron. Preliminary research recommend there could also be an elevated danger of reinfection for each vaccinated and beforehand contaminated individuals in comparison with different variants, and the WHO mentioned it’s working with technical companions to study if standard COVID-19 vaccine choices put up pretty much as good of protection towards omicron as they do towards the dominant virus and different strains.

The WHO mentioned frequent PCR exams will detect an omicron an infection, however research are ongoing to study if different check varieties can reliably detect it, similar to speedy antigen exams. So far as remedy choices, corticosteroids and IL6 receptor blockers — similar to tocilizumab and sarilumab — will nonetheless be efficient for sufferers with extreme COVID-19, based on the WHO.

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In time, the group mentioned different therapies shall be assessed.

What ought to international locations do about omicron?

Attributable to omicron’s designation as a variant of concern, the WHO urged international locations proceed to implement public well being security measures whereas researchers work to study if the variant is deadlier, extra immune to vaccines or extra transmissible than the dominant virus. The WHO urged that entry to COVID-19 vaccines ought to proceed to be unfold, and if it nonetheless isn’t possible to vaccinate everybody towards COVID-19 in any given group, the group prioritizes its message for weak teams, similar to well being care staff and the aged.

As a substitute of imposing journey bans, the WHO known as on international locations to comply with science and worldwide well being rules.

“Journey restrictions could play a task in barely lowering the unfold of COVID-19 however place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” WHO’s regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti mentioned in a press release.

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Moreover, the group mentioned international locations needs to be conserving a detailed eye on COVID-19 case numbers, cataloging and sequencing exams so as to ship experiences to the group to higher the collective understanding of omicron’s traits.

What ought to individuals do about omicron?

In response to the group, well being measures that needs to be applied are these already confirmed to scale back COVID-19 transmission total. So, just like the group’s recommendation for international locations, the WHO mentioned individuals ought to hold distancing themselves from others, put on a masks, keep away from poorly ventilated or crowded areas, wash their palms frequently, hold coughs and sneezes to themselves and get vaccinated towards COVID-19 in the event that they haven’t already.

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