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Omicron seems more transmissible but less severe than other variants, further research needed: WHO Updated: 2021-12-09 09:46:06 KST

The WHO says the Omicron variant seems more transmissible but less severe than other variants.
Health Emergencies Program director Michael Ryan said in an interview with AFP that preliminary data doesn't show Omicron to be a more severe disease than other variants like Delta.
And he added that, if anything, the strain is leading towards less severity.
The organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also cited studies from South Africa that found people who contracted the Omicron variant faced much milder symptoms than those who were infected by the Delta variant.

But the director-general said much more research is still needed.
And he urged governments to boost their surveillance and examine just how Omicron is behaving.

"All governments should re-assess and revise their national plans based on the current situation and their national capacities, accelerate vaccine coverage in the most at risk populations in all countries,scale up surveillance, testing and sequencing and share samples with the international community and avoid ineffective and discriminatory travel bans."

The WHO also stressed the importance of getting vaccinated even though data on whether current vaccines are effective against Omicron is only just starting to come out.
Some data that has come out like the initial laboratory test results from Pfizer suggest a third shot might be needed.

On Wednesday, Pfizer said two doses of its vaccine might not provide sufficient antibodies against Omicron, whereas a booster jab does.
They said a three-shot course of their vaccine was shown to increase neutralizing antibodies by 25-fold, compared to two doses.
But, a chief scientist from the WHO warned that we shouldn't make any hasty conclusions from this test.
The scientist said that it was way too soon to determine whether fewer neutralizing antibodies meant the shot was less effective.
The WHO is set to publish a review of its stance on the efficacy of booster shots against the Omicron variant within a few days.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.
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