Omicron, the recently-discovered variant of the coronavirus which was first detected in southern Africa, has been declared to be a variant of concern by the World Health Organization .

The WHO said on Friday that omicron, named after a letter in the Greek alphabet, was first reported to it from South Africa on November 24 and the first known confirmed infection was from a specimen collected on November 9.

The  global health body said in a statement, “Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron,”.

Scientists have said the omicron variant appears to have a high number of mutations  about 30 in the coronavirus’ spike protein, which could affect how easily it spreads to people. The UN health agency 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 vaccines, tests and treatments.

 symptoms of omicron variant : South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases  has said that “currently no unusual symptoms have been reported following infection with the B.1.1.529 variant.”

NICD also said that as with other infectious variants such as Delta, some of those infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus are asymptomatic.

According to the WHO, current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. “Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected  and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation,” it said in the statement.

People should continue to follow measures to reduce their risk of Covid-19, including wearing well-fitting masks, following hand hygiene and physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

Omicron, the recently-discovered variant of the coronavirus which was first detected in southern Africa, has been declared to be a variant of concern by the World Health Organization .

The WHO said on Friday that omicron, named after a letter in the Greek alphabet, was first reported to it from South Africa on November 24 and the first known confirmed infection was from a specimen collected on November 9.

The  global health body said in a statement, “Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron,”.

Scientists have said the omicron variant appears to have a high number of mutations  about 30 in the coronavirus’ spike protein, which could affect how easily it spreads to people. The UN health agency 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 vaccines, tests and treatments.

 symptoms of omicron variant : South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases  has said that “currently no unusual symptoms have been reported following infection with the B.1.1.529 variant.”

NICD also said that as with other infectious variants such as Delta, some of those infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus are asymptomatic.

According to the WHO, current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. “Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected  and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation,” it said in the statement.

People should continue to follow measures to reduce their risk of Covid-19, including wearing well-fitting masks, following hand hygiene and physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

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