More evidence is rising that the omicron coronavirus variant is affecting the higher respiratory tract, inflicting milder symptoms than earlier variants, a World Health Organization official mentioned on Tuesday.
“We are seeing more and more research mentioning that omicron is infecting the higher a part of the physique. Unlike the opposite ones, that might trigger extreme pneumonia,” WHO Incident Manager Abdi Mahamud advised Geneva-based journalists, saying it might be “excellent news”.
However, he added that omicron’s excessive transmissibility means it’ll develop into dominant inside weeks in lots of locations, posing a menace in international locations the place a excessive portion of the inhabitants stays unvaccinated.
His remarks on the decreased dangers of extreme illness chime with different information together with a examine from South Africa which was one of many first international locations the place omicron was detected.
However, Mahamud additionally sounded a observe of warning, calling South Africa an “outlier” because it has a younger inhabitants amongst different elements.
Asked about whether or not an omicron-specific vaccine was wanted, Mahamud mentioned it was too early to say however harassed that the choice required international coordination and shouldn’t be left to the industrial sector to determine alone.