The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed 'OMICRON' to the new variant B.1.1.529 of the Coronavirus, identified for the first time in South Africa, and has warned that it could lead to a "higher risk of reinfection", according to the First preliminary scientific evidence.
At the meeting held this Friday, the technical advisory group on the evolution of the SARS-COV-2 virus of WHO has rated this variant as "of concern", since "it presents a large number of mutations, some of which are Worried. "
WHO defines a variant "of concern" when it has been demonstrated that it is associated with one or more of the following changes: increased transmissibility or harmful change in the epidemiology of Covid-19; Increased virulence or change in the clinical presentation of the disease; o Decrease in the effectiveness of social measures and public health or diagnostic testing, vaccines and available treatments.
"The preliminary tests suggest an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, compared to others that are also of concern," the WHO experts indicate.
In accordance with the report of the United Nations International Health Agency, this variant was first notified to WHO from South Africa on November 24, while the first infection confirmed by this variant that is recorded comes from a sample collected On the 9th of november.
"In recent weeks, infections have increased considerably, coinciding with the detection of variant B.1.1.529. The number of cases of this variant seems to be increasing in almost all the provinces of South Africa," explains WHO.
According to the first findings in the laboratory, this variant does not have one of the three target genes (which is called the Abandonment of the S gene sloan gene s) and, therefore, WHO considers that PCR "can Use as a marker of this variant, waiting for the confirmation of sequencing ".
However, experts show their concern arguing that it could have greater transmissibility than previous variants such as Delta: "Using PCR, this variant has been detected at a faster rhythm than the previous waves of infection, which suggests that this variant can be Have a growth advantage. "
Given the emergence of this new variant, the countries of the European Union are arranged to prohibit flights from departure or destination to South Africa and six other African countries for fear that it spreads through those routes. The restrictions will affect South Africa, Botswana, Esuatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and will apply "for fourteen days", for the time being.
The decision has coincided this Friday with the first case confirmed in Europe of a patient infected with the new OMICRON variant. She is a Belgian woman with Coronavirus symptoms who returned from a trip to Egypt 15 days ago.Date Of Update: 26 November 2021, 13:48