Citing the huge risk the Omicron coronavirus variant poses to the world, the World Health Organization has called on its 194 members states to accelerate its vaccination program as a way of stopping the spread of this deadly COVID variant.
In a letter given to the media on Monday, the WHO also called on its member states to “ensure mitigation plans are in place” to maintain essential health services if ever Omicron will spread rapidly.
“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said.
“The overall global risk related to the new variant… is assessed as very high,” the WHO added.
The WHO noted that as of the moment no deaths linked to Omicron had been reported, though further research was needed to assess Omicron‘s potential to escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections.
“Increasing cases, regardless of a change in severity, may pose overwhelming demands on healthcare systems and may lead to increased morbidity and mortality. The impact on vulnerable populations would be substantial, particularly in countries with low vaccination coverage,” the WHO revealed.
“The presence of multiple mutations of the spike protein in the receptor-binding domain suggests that Omicron may have a high likelihood of immune escape from antibody-mediated protection. However, immune escape potential from cell-mediated immunity is more difficult to predict,” the WHO added further.