There is consistent evidence that Omicron variant is spreading faster than the Delta variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
“There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing for Geneva-based journalists, held at its new headquarters building.
“And it is more likely people vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or re-infected,”
The new variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 25.
India has so far reported 161 cases of new coronavirus variant Omicron, the health minister said today, adding that the government has taken steps to deal with situation if the virus spreads.
Mansukh Mandaviya said the states and union territories have adequate quantity of vaccines against Covid-19 for vaccination drives, adding that the country’s vaccine manufacturing capacity has also increased.
Meanwhile, India’s genomic consortium (INSACOG) said there is no clear evidence yet on the transmissibility, immune evasion or severity of Omicron in India.
A UK study has found “no evidence” that Omicron has a lower severity than the Delta strain. The new variant of coronavirus also largely evades immunity from past infection or two vaccine doses.
The study by researchers from Imperial College London in the UK estimates that the risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant.
This implies that the protection against reinfection by Omicron afforded by past infection may be as low as 19%, the researchers said.
When it comes to protection against Omicron, AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria said Covid-19 vaccines can be tweaked to provide protection against new variants of the coronavirus.