GENEVA, Nov 29 (Asia Free Press) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said that it is yet to be cleared if the new Omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants or if it causes more severe disease, according to Reuters.
“Exploratory data suggests that there are high rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron,” the news agency quoted a WHO official as saying.
However, in a statement, the organization restated that initial evidence suggests there may be a higher risk of reinfection from the variant.
The WHO said it is working with technical experts to understand the potential impact of the variant on existing countermeasures against COVID-19 disease, including vaccines.
“No valid and credible information is currently to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those of other variants,” the World Health Organization said.
In addition, “Initial reported infections were among university studies —younger individuals who tend to have more mild disease — but understanding the level of severity of the Omicron variant will take days to several weeks.”
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests continue to detect infection with Omicron – which was first detected in South Africa earlier this month – and studies are underway to determine whether there is any impact on rapid antigen detection tests.