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Omicron Variant Currently known as B.1.1.529

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WHO CLASSIFIES THE NEW B.1.1.529 VARIANT AS "OMICRON VARIANT". Currently known as B.1.1.529, the newly identified variant has now been detected further afield in Botswana, Hong Kong and Belgium.

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Currently known as B.1.1.529, the newly identified variant has now been detected further afield in Botswana, Hong Kong (https://www.cnn.com/specials/asia/hong-kong) and Belgium.

The chief medical adviser to the UK Health and Security Agency has warned that a newly identified Covid-19 variant in southern Africa (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/25/s...) is the "most worrying we've seen", with transmission levels not recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Dr Susan Hopkins said the R value, or effective reproduction number, of the B.1.1.529 variant (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/25/w...) in Gauteng in South Africa, where it was first found, was now 2. For an R of anything above 1, an epidemic will grow exponentially.

"This is clearly a variant that we must be very serious about," Ravindra Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, told the Associated Press (https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-science-health-africa-public-health-2b15d77e29c2607d4686e059e3313391).

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At the moment, the number of documented cases of B.1.1.529 is small—around 100—but health officials fear it may be fueling a dramatic surge in new cases in South Africa. The country—where less than half of all adults are vaccinated—went from about 200 new cases a day to 10 times that on Thursday.

The WHO may decide to upgrade it to a variant of concern (VOC) – on par with established variants like Delta, meaning it has "global public health significance" – and issue guidance to member countries.

It may also classify it a less serious variant of interest (VOI), which indicates for example that it may affect transmissibility or disease severity.

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Source: Nationwide Commercial Cleaning LLC
Filed Under: Science

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