• Next covid-19 variant will be more transmissible: WHO

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      Digital Desk: Even as the globe returns to normalcy with the Omicron wave diminishing, experts have cautioned that the next covid-19 variation will be more transmissible and maybe more deadly than its predecessors. Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO epidemiologist and technical lead on covid-19 Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, stated in a press conference that the pandemic is far from over and that subsequent varieties will be more aggressive than Omicron is currently. “The next variation of coronavirus will be more fit, which means it will be more transmissible because it will have to outperform what is now circulating. So the main question is whether future versions will be more or less severe.” said Dr Van Kerkhove. She also warned that the next version could elude immunity more quickly, making vaccines less effective. Moreover, she emphasized taking the vaccine to protect against severe illness and death, as demonstrated during the Omicron wave. “We anticipate that the circulation of covid-19 will be low with the correct actions. However, even within those circulations, there will be flare-ups among those who haven’t been vaccinated or whose immunity is fading.” Kerkhove said. The WHO has classified the Delta variant, which was initially discovered in India in October 2020, as a variant of concern. The Delta version spread 50% quicker than the Alpha variant, which was 50% more contagious than the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2, also known as the coronavirus. Six months later, the Delta strain had decimated the country, killing lives and producing a record-breaking number of daily cases. By June 2021, it has caused a new wave of cases in the United Kingdom, Israel, Russia, Australia, and several other countries. After being discovered in late November 2021 in South Africa, Omicron was swiftly labelled as a variety of concerns. Omicron has superseded Delta as the prevalent strain in a much shorter time. Although milder, Omicron is at least two to four times more transmissible than Delta. It also has a five-fold higher risk of reinfection than Delta, as well as an improved capacity to avoid vaccinations. Kerkhove warns that there is no guarantee that the coronavirus will become weaker as it evolves and that while the world hopes for it, we can’t count on it. According to a study conducted at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital Complex in South Africa, covid-19 may end shortly. Omicron may be a forerunner of the end of the epidemic phase of the Covid pandemic, ushering in its endemic phase.” the researchers speculated based on the findings. On the other hand, these investigations are simply suggestive and subject to the introduction of new variations.

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