How scared should you be of the new COVID-19 variant “Omicron”? AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria explains

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared B.1.1.529 a variant of concern. Experts see this swift jump from being a “Variant of Interest” (VoI) to a “Variant of Concern” (VoC) as a worrying factor, since the difference between the two is wide-ranging and significant.

As compared to variant of interest, variant of concern is linked to “an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures,” says the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While the South African Medical Association has slammed the hype and said that Omicron is only causing mild diseases, the rate of transmissibility continues to be high, adding to the woes of the people.

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