New COVID Strain Gets New Name ‘Omicron’, Classified As Variant Of Concern By WHO | Details Here

New COVID Variant: It must be noted that the B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24.

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Geneva: The advisory panel of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared COVID new variant B.1.1.529 to be a 'variant of concern' and named it as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified it as a highly transmissible virus and named it omicron under its Greek-letter system. Notably, the announcement from the United Nations health agency marks the first time in months that WHO has classified a COVID-19 variant as such.

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"Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology... the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern, named Omicron," the UN health agency said in a statement.

In a statement, the WHO said the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE), an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses if specific mutations and combinations of mutations alter the behaviour of the virus, was convened on November 26 to assess the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529.

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It must be noted that the B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24. Later, the WHO pointed out that South Africa has witnessed increase in infections, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant.

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What WHO said on new COVID variant:

  1. The WHO said the new variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning.
  2. It also added that the number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa.
  3. The WHO also added that several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant.
  4. Based on the evidence indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised the WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC.
  5. The WHO further added that there are a number of studies underway and the TAG-VE will continue to evaluate this variant.
  6. The WHO also stated that the new findings will be communicated with Member States and to the public as needed.

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Published Date:November 27, 2021 12:34 AM IST

Updated Date:November 27, 2021 12:34 AM IST

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