According to records from the health agency, around 21 million COVID cases were reported globally last week. This is a new record for cases reported within a week.
Health Organisation-WHO is warning that the next COVID-19 variant will be more
infectious than Omicron.
infectious recorded to date is the Omicron variant which is believed to have a
shorter incubation period of three days compared to the Delta which has four
days or the Wuhan with five days. Omicron is also believed to be more than 30
times more infectious than the Delta variant.
The warning from
WHO comes a day after two years since the UN health agency declared the
COVID-19 pandemic an issue of international concern.
records from the health agency, around 21 million COVID cases were reported
globally last week. This is a new record for cases reported within a
Scientists from WHO notes
that the next variant is around the corner and urged people not to relax. The
WHO's COVID-19 Technical Lead, Dr. Maria Can Kerkhove during a live-streamed question
and answer session warned that the next variant will be more infectious than
the Omicron variant.
"The virus is with us and it's not about to go. If you put pressure on
this virus it will continue to evolve. The next variant will be more fit and
what we mean by it is that it will be more transmissible because it will have to overtake
what is currently circulating. The big question is whether or not future
variants will be more or less severe," she said.
According to WHO, the
COVID-19 virus will continue to evolve before it settles down into a pattern
that is more predictable.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO
Director of Emergency Programs says countries need to continue tracking the
disease to be better prepared for any surprises that might spring up.
" COVID is
unpredictable. The virus has proven to give us some nasty surprises. Health
officials need to continue tracking it as it evolves in case there's a nasty surprise
so that we can at least put measures in place to stop new variants from doing
any damage," he said.
Kerkhove, people should not think that the next variant will be mild as some
reports have suggested due to continued mutations of the virus that are believed
will make it less virulent.
" There is no guarantee
of that, what we can rely on for now are preventive methods which include
vaccination, social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands. We have seen
this prevent infections and severe diseases," she said.
Pfizer and BioNTech, the
manufacturers of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday started testing a new vaccine to
target the Omicron variant amidst concerns that the variant doesn't respond to
This is in line with the
WHO's Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition that suggested
early this year for the manufacture of vaccines to specifically target the
Omicron variant. As such vaccines are developed, the technical group advised
vaccines manufacturers to update current vaccines to ensure they continue to
provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against infection and disease.