what we need to know

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The Omicron variant: what we need to know


WHO designated Omicron as a variant of concern (VOC) due to its many mutations, leading to higher risk of transmission and possible resistance to vaccination. As the level of a variant’s threat depends on how infectious it is, how well vaccines and prior COVID-19 infection protect against infection, transmission, clinical disease, and death, and how virulent it is compared to other variants, the overall threat posed by the Omicron VOC is very high.

Committed to providing societies and governments with up-to-date information as soon as available, WHO is closely working with researchers around the world to gain a better understanding of the Omicron VOC’s mutations and how they may impact diagnosis, treatment, and vaccinesWHO encourages countries to increase observation and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating COVID-19 variants and submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, such as GISAID.

WHO urges for the continued implementation of effective public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and for an evidence-informed and risk-based approach when applying travel measures in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

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