Appreciable uncertainties encompass Omicron, first detected final month in South Africa and Hong Kong, whose mutations might result in larger transmissibility and extra circumstances of Covid-19 illness, the WHO stated in a technical transient issued on Sunday.
“The general threat associated to the brand new variant of concern Omicron stays very excessive for a variety of causes,” it stated, reiterating its first evaluation of Nov. 29.
“And second, preliminary proof suggests potential humoral immune escape in opposition to an infection and excessive transmission charges, which might result in additional surges with extreme penalties,” the WHO stated, referring to the virus’ potential potential to evade immunity offered by antibodies.
The WHO cited some preliminary proof that the variety of folks getting reinfected with the virus has elevated in South Africa.
Whereas preliminary findings from South Africa counsel that Omicron could also be much less extreme than the Delta variant – presently dominant worldwide – and all circumstances reported within the Europe area have been gentle or asymptomatic, it stays unclear to what extent Omicron could also be inherently much less virulent, it stated.
“Extra information are wanted to know the severity profile,” it stated. “Even when the severity is doubtlessly decrease than for the Delta variant, it’s anticipated that hospitalisations will enhance on account of growing transmission. Extra hospitalizations can put a burden on well being methods and result in extra deaths.”
Additional info was anticipated in coming weeks, it added, noting the time lag between infections and outcomes.