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Omicron variant could change course of pandemic, WHO says

Headlines 11:18 09 Dec, 2021

The WHO chief called on all countries to boost testing, detection and sequencing

Omicron variant could change course of pandemic, WHO says

The World Health Organization on Wednesday said the highly mutated omicron variant of COVID-19 could change the course of the pandemic.

The exact impact is “still difficult to know,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing from the group’s Geneva headquarters. Scientists across the world are scrambling to determine just how contagious and lethal the mutated virus has become.

The WHO’s remarks comes as the omicron variant, first identified in southern Africa, has been found in 57 countries across the world.

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

Genetic changes to the virus affect its virulence and indicate it could be considerably more infectious than previous strains, according to the WHO.

The WHO chief called on all countries to boost testing, detection and sequencing.