Omicron unlikely to be extra severe or to totally evade vaccines: WHO

It’s early days, but the World Health Organisation has sounded a note of very cautious optimism about the Omicron Covid-19 variant. According to an AFP report, the WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan says early information shows the mutation is not any extra extreme than earlier variants and unlikely to totally dodge vaccine protection. However, Ryan cautions that it’s nonetheless too soon to make definitive statements in regards to the severity of the menace posed by the variant.
“The preliminary data doesn’t indicate that this is more severe. In fact, if something, the course is in the direction of less severity. It’s very early days, we’ve to be very cautious how we interpret that signal.”

Ryan adds that whereas current vaccines may turn into less effective against the brand new pressure, it’s “highly unlikely” that Omicron will manage to evade vaccine protection fully.
“We have to substantiate if there’s any lapse in that safety, however I would expect to see some protection there. The preliminary information from South Africa wouldn’t indicate that we will have a catastrophic loss of efficacy. In reality, the alternative in the meanwhile.”

The WHO boss provides that the very fact Omicron seems to be extra transmissible than previous variants is not any surprise.
“When any new variant emerges, it will are typically extra transmissible, as a outcome of it’s obtained to compete with previous variants.”

Responding to recommendations that the variant may be better at infecting people who are fully vaccinated or who’ve already had Covid-19, Ryan says the aim of vaccines has at all times been to prevent severe sickness, not necessarily to forestall folks contracting the virus. Therefore, provided individuals who turn into re-infected are asymptomatic or have solely delicate symptoms, there could be much less trigger for concern.
Premiere adds that, on the end of the day, the Omicron variant is still Covid-19 and due to this fact the identical illness prevention measures, including vaccination, face masks, and social distancing, nonetheless have an necessary position to play.
“The virus hasn’t modified its nature. It may have modified in phrases of its effectivity, however it hasn’t changed the game completely. The rules of the game are still the identical.”

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