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    Wednesday, September 27, 2023

      WHO warns that Next Covid-19 Variant will be More Infectious than Omicron and Possibly Deadlier

      Even as the world limps back to normalcy with the Omicron wave subsiding, experts have warn that the next Covid-19 variant will be more transmissible, and perhaps, more deadly than its predecessors.

      In a recent press briefing, World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist and technical lead on Covid-19 Dr Maria Van Kerkhove stress that the pandemic is far from over and future variants will be in some way more virulent than Omicron is now.

      Dr Van Kerkhove Said :

      “The next variant of concern will be more fit, and what we mean by that is it will be more transmissible because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating. The big question is whether or not future variants will be more or less severe,”.

      She further warn that the next variant could more easily evade immunity, rendering vaccines less effective.

      She double down on the imperativeness of getting the vaccine as it protects against many illness and death, as exhibited during the Omicron wave.

      Dr Van Kerkhove Said :

      “We expect that with the right interventions, the circulation of Covid-19 will be low. But even within those circulations, there will be flare-ups among people who are not protected by the vaccine or those who have waning immunity,”.

      The Delta variant that was first detect in India in October 2020 was label a variant of concern by the WHO.

      Delta was spreading 50% faster than the Alpha variant, which was 50% more contagious than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, more commonly known as the coronavirus.

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      After six months later and the Delta strain had ravage the country, causing a record-breaking number of daily cases and claiming lives.

      By June 2021, it was responsible for a fresh surge in cases in the UK, Israel, Russia, Australia and several other parts of the world.

      Omicron, which was quickly tag as a variant of concern after being detect in South Africa in late November 2021, has replace Delta as the dominant strain in a much shorter interval.

      Though milder, Omicron is at least two to four time more transmissible than the Delta variant.

      It also possesses an enhance ability to evade vaccines, on top of a reinfection rate five times that of Delta.

      Dr Van Kerkhove has caution :

      “no guarantee” the coronavirus will get weaker as it evolves and that although the world might hope that’s the case, “we can’t bank on it.”

      There is a silver lining too. 

      A study conduct at Steve Biko Academic Hospital Complex in South Africa offers a possibility of Covid-19 ending in the near future.

      Based on the results, the researchers suggest :

      “Omicron may be a harbinger of the end of the epidemic phase of the Covid pandemic, ushering in its endemic phase”.

      These studies are only indicative and conditional to the emergence of new variants.

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