WHO chief on 2 factors creating ‘ideal condition’ for novel coronavirus strains

Sounding another alarm about the next variant of COVID, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out that inequitable access to vaccines and tests in many countries, combined with high transmission, creates a condition ideal for the emergence of new variants. “The longer this inequity continues, the longer the pandemic drags on,” he also warned.

Noting how the pandemic is hampering crucial economic goals, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “With prolonged economic uncertainty and heightened risk of long-term scarring, the pandemic has seriously set us back progress towards sustainable development which is crucial for a long time. – long-term economic stability.”

“And therefore, closer collaboration between the health and finance sectors is essential,” added the WHO chief.

Most countries do not perform genome sequencing

Explaining why it is difficult to identify new variants quickly, WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan pointed out that the high costs of genome sequencing prevent about a third of the world’s countries from genome sequencing COVID-19. This method makes it possible to identify new variants of the virus.

The equipment is expensive because it requires expensive reagents, which often have to be imported. That fact in itself has prevented countries from developing that expertise, she said at Devex’s Prescription for Progress event on Tuesday.

Although the rate of genomic sequencing has increased significantly since the start of the pandemic, even current levels are not good enough

It’s the Olympics for the coronavirus

Earlier this week, while speaking on topics related to Omicron and the emergence of new variants of COVID, senior WHO official Mike Ryan explained that it’s the Olympics for viruses right now. moment in terms of each sub-lineage, each sub-variant, each variant trying to out-compete the next and this process will continue, and as long as transmission continues, this selective pressure will be on the virus.

Adding to her point, Maria Van Kerkhove from the WHO added that the increase in transmissibility is linked to mutations and another thing that is now noticeable for (Omicron) is the immune evasion properties.

“So that’s something we’re looking for in future variants and what might happen, if we’ll have more transmissible variants, which is likely, but we’re also concerned about the potential for variants that will have further immune evasion. “

If so, the risk of re-infection or the risk of infection breaking through could be higher in the future.

75,000 COVID deaths reported last week

“In many countries, Omicron’s low gravity leads to a false narrative that the pandemic is over,” Tedros said during a speech. This comes at a time when COVID-related deaths continue to scare us.

Last week alone, 75,000 COVID deaths were reported, although the number of cases recorded during the same period was significantly low compared to previous weeks. However, WHO officials have warned that the number of infections is low as the rate of testing has dropped.

Last week, only 16 million new COVID cases were reported.

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