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Omicron variant may change the course of the Covid pandemic

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Omicron

With the rising number of covid cases of omicron variant, it is expected that it may change the course of the pandemic. Therefore, the government is advising people to get vaccinated as fast as possible and keep measures in place to protect people from infection.

“We can prevent omicron from becoming a global crisis,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing on Wednesday. “This virus is changing, but our collective resolve must not.”

The organization said that though it is noticed that the omicron is milder than the delta strain, still it’s too early to be definitive about the same. 

“Certain features of omicron, including its global spread and a large number of mutations, suggest it could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic,” Tedros said.

According to a new study from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE on how their vaccine works against omicron, Kate O’Brien, director of immunization and vaccines said that the World Health Organization is aware and will further look at the findings. 

“We are still in a delta pandemic, so vaccinating with existing vaccines continues to be the top priority,” she said.

“We are now starting to see a consistent picture of a rapid increase in transmission (rates), although for now the exact rate of increase relative to other variants remains difficult to quantify,” the chief of the World Health Organization said. 

“Emerging data from South Africa suggest increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, but more data are needed to draw firmer conclusions,” he added.

According to the initial laboratory studies, Pfizer and BioNTech said on Wednesday that the third dose of vaccine may be needed to neutralize the omicron variant, an analysis that will accelerate booster-shot drives around the world.

Till now the Omicron variant has spread across 57 countries and it seems to be more transmissible than previous virus strains. As the omicron appears to have higher transmissibility than delta, “that does not mean the virus is unstoppable”, said Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program to control the spread of omicron variant. 

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