According to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, the new Covid-19 type could serve as a “wake-up call” for Covid appropriate behaviour in India. She emphasised the importance of being cautious and continuing to use masks, calling them “pocket vaccines” that have been found to be highly effective, particularly in indoor settings. Other recommendations made by the scientists for combating ‘Omicron’ – the new variety of concern – include fully vaccination all adults, avoiding large gatherings, expanding genome sequencing, and closely monitoring any odd increase in cases. “To combat ‘Omicron,’ we need a science-based strategy,” she stated.
Ms Swaminathan further stated that this variety may be more transmissible than Delta, however no definitive statement can be made at this time. In a few days, we’ll know more about the strain, she said.
According to news agency Reuters, ‘Omicron,’ labelled a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, is likely more contagious than prior versions of the disease, though doctors are unsure whether it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 than other strains. Its rise has sparked global worry, prompting a new round of travel restrictions and a sell-off in financial markets over fears that it may stall the economy’s recovery from the pandemic’s two years.
Concerning comparisons with existing Covid variations, Ms Swaminathan stated, “We need additional investigations to pinpoint the new variant’s properties.”
Vaccination is still a priority, and public health precautions must be maintained, she said, pointing out that ‘Omicron’ has a lot of mutations. She went on to say that vaccine equity is still a work in progress.
Genome sequencing, or determining an organism’s genetic makeup, will continue to be vital in the fight against Covid, she said. She argued that we need to take a risk-based approach to travel bans because they haven’t stopped Covid in the past. “Travel bans should only be in place for a short period of time and should be reviewed frequently,” she said.
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