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No change in severity reported on Omicron BA.4, BA.5 subs: WHO

No change in severity reported on Omicron BA.4, BA.5 subs: WHO

Geneva: The World Health Organisation has informed on Wednesday that although there were few new Covid-19 cases of Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, no change in severity or transmissibility has been reported so far, IANS reported.

The new sub-variants were detected in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom and the WHO said that it is keeping track of them. It said that the new sub-variants are closely monitored because of their additional mutations, which requires more studies to understand their impact on immune escape potential. In its weekly Covid-19 update, the global health agency said that the number of new infections is declining considerably. From April 4 to 10, more than 7 million new cases were reported along with 22,000 deaths globally, which is a decrease of 24 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, compared to the week before. But WHO warned that lower numbers do not mean lower risk and advised countries to scale up the pandemic response rapidly.

WHO's head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated in a press briefing on Wednesday that scaling up Covid-19 tests and sequencing rates is necessary for scientists to track the existing variant and identify when new ones emerge. He added that the virus remains lethal for the unprotected and unvaccinated that don't have access to health care and antivirals. He advises people to continue wearing face masks, particularly in indoor spaces. He called for an equitable distribution of Covid-19 resistance tools, which is inevitable to insulate against future waves.

WHO's director of emergencies, Michael Ryan, that the WHO is pleased that numbers are falling, but the virus had surprised them before and caught them off guard. WHO's lead scientist Dr Soumiya Swaminathan, said more variants and subvariants will emerge for sure and what the world must continue to put effort into is investing in more resistance means. "We have to be prepared for the possibility that this virus can change so much that it might be able to evade existing immunity", she said.

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TAGS:Covid-19 updates Omicron WHO 
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