WHO Releases Statement on Omicron

WHO Releases Statement on Omicron BA.2, Reinforces Variant as a Concern

The World Health Organization recently met to discuss the latest evidence on the Omicron variant and its sublineages.

The Omicron variant doesn’t seem to want to dwindle down. In the most recent efforts to track variants, the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution met on Monday to discuss the latest on the Omicron variant and its sublineages BA.1 and BA.2.

The Omicron variant is currently the dominant variant circulating around the world and accounts for nearly all cases reported to GISAID. Omicron has been reported to be made up of several sublineages, the most common being BA.1, BA.1.1 and BA.2.

According to a news release published after the meeting, the group said that of the cases recently reported, BA.2 has been increasing relative to BA.1 in recent weeks, however global circulation of all variants has reported started to decline. The TAG-VE reinforced that the BA.2 sublineage should remain classified as Omicron and be considered as a variant of concern.

Studies are still ongoing to discern the differences between the Omicron variants, but initial data shows that BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1. despite the fact BA.1 is still the most reported sublineage.

The release says, “This difference in transmissibility appears to be much smaller than, for example, the difference between BA.1 and Delta. Further, although BA.2 sequences are increasing in proportion relative to other Omicron sublineages (BA.1 and BA.1.1), there is still a reported decline in overall cases globally.”

WHO says it will continue to closely monitor the BA.2 lineage as part of Omicron and requests that countries continue to be vigilant in their fight against Covid-19.

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