The heavily mutated Omicron coronavirus variant is likely to spread internationally and poses a very high risk of infection surges that could have “severe consequences” in some places, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. No deaths related so far have been reported due to this virus but additional research needs assessing its potential ability resist vaccines or immunity induced by previous infections.
“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said.
“The overall global risk …is assessed as very high.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said Omicron’s emergence showed how “perilous and precarious” the situation was.
“Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics,” he told the start of an assembly of health ministers expected to launch negotiations on such an agreement.
“Our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores.”
This year, the Omicron virus was detected for the first time in Siem Reap Cambodia. The new global deal expected by May 2024 would cover issues such as sharing data and genome sequences of emerging viruses with other countries that need it to prevent outbreaks or contain them before they spread across borders – like vaccines derived from research funded by CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations). Scientist Richard Hatchett said this showed how prediction about transmission patterns could speed evolution if we didn’t vaccinated people who were at risk: “You’ll see more rapid change than ever thought possible.”
This disease is quickly spreading through the world. It has been reported from South Africa, where infections have become more common and severe in recent months; it’s also reached other countries such as Israel with a complete ban on all visitors coming into their borders– Japan will be following suit soon if they don’t already do so first! The WHO recently confirmed that this coronavirus may lead to higher rates of infection than we’re used too but still advise caution when regulating travel abroad until further advice can arrive regarding how best protect yourself against illness while traveling internationally.
“The impact on vulnerable populations would be substantial, particularly in countries with low vaccination coverage,” it added.
In vaccinated persons, meanwhile, “COVID-19 cases and infections are expected … albeit in a small and predictable proportion”.