One year after the appearance of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pointed out that there are more than 500 subvariants of this strain. Furthermore, he clarified that all are highly transmissible due to the modifications they present, which allows them to more easily escape immunity.
Despite the fact that Omicron remains the predominant variant in the world as the most contagious, Tedros will prevent a new strain may emerge with “significant mortality”. “The gaps in surveillance, testing, sequencing and vaccination continue to create the perfect conditions for a worrisome new variant to emerge that could cause significant mortality,” he told a news conference in late 2022.
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In this sense, health experts warned that an explosion of infections in China after the lifting of sanitary restrictions threatens to create a “potential breeding ground” for new variants of the virus. With the virus circulating almost freely among a population of 1.4 billion, most lacking the immunity of prior infection and many unvaccinated, other countries and specialists fear that the Asian giant is fertile ground for new variants.
Added to this, in dialogue with AFPAntoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva, explained that each new contagion increases the possibility that the virus will mutate. “The fact that 1.4 billion people are suddenly exposed to SARS-CoV-2 obviously creates conditions for emerging variants“, remarkable in this regard.
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and you said that “a soup” of more than 500 subvariants of Omicron has been identified in recent monthsalthough it is difficult to detect where each one came from.
Although he maintained that any variant, being more transmissible than the previous one, “represents threats because they can cause new waves,” he clarified that “To the best of our knowledge, none of these known variants appears to exhibit particular risks of more severe symptoms.However, it was fitting that that might change in the future.
Almost the entire world population has some immunity to Covid-19
Despite the threat of a new variant, the WHO calculated in December 2022 that 90% of the world population currently enjoys some immunity to the coronavirus.
“The WHO estimates that at least 90% of the world’s population now has some level of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 due to previous infection or vaccination,” Tedros said.
And he added: “We are much closer to being able to say that the emergency phase of the pandemic is overbut we haven’t reached it yet.”
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The countries have communicated to the international organization 6.6 million deaths from the coronavirus. They have also registered almost 640 million infections. However, the UN health agency insists that the data does not reflect the true number of victims.
Along these lines, the director of the WHO recorded that by the end of November 2022, more than 8,500 deaths from coronavirus were recorded. In this regard, Tedros maintained that it was a figure that “is not acceptable” after three years of the pandemic, when “we already have so many tools to prevent infections and save lives”.
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