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The Omicron variant could alter the course of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization’s director-general.

Several characteristics of the Omicron variant, such as its global spread and large number of mutations, suggest that it could have a significant impact on the course of the -19 pandemic, according to Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the Health Organization (WHO).

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned reporters at a press briefing that the Omicron variant, which has now been identified in 57 countries, is capable of spreading faster than previous variants.

According to him, “we are now beginning to see a consistent of rapid increase in (rates), although it is difficult to quantify the exact rate of increase relative to other variants at this time.”

According to him, “ data from South Africa suggests an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, but more data is needed to firmer conclusions.”

While some evidence suggests that the Omicron causes milder symptoms than the earlier Delta variant, experts from the Health Organization (WHO) have cautioned that it is too soon to draw any definitive conclusions.

As Mike Ryan, director of the Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, points out, although the virus’s evolutionary nature makes it more transmissible as it mutates, this does not necessarily mean that the virus is less severe, as has been suggested by some “urban legends.”

On the 2nd of December, 2021, people walk past a board displaying measures against COVID-19 in , Belgium. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong) Xinhua/Zheng Huansong

He believes that whether or not a mutation is milder or more lethal is a matter of , not science.

While studies of the latest COVID-19 are in the stages, the Health Organization (WHO) says it will take days or even weeks for global epidemiological data to be collected, analyzed, and then drawn to any firm conclusions.

To be sure, it’s still too soon to say that Omicron will result in a significant reduction in vaccine , according to Soumya Swaminathan, the Health Organization’s Chief Scientist.

surveillance, testing, and sequencing, as well as submitting more data to the WHO Clinical Data Platform through an updated online case reporting form, have been urged by the Health Organization (WHO).

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