WHO chief scientist urges people not to panic over Omicron

Health

Published: 2021-12-04 11:07

Last Updated: 2022-05-17 21:08


WHO chief scientist urges people not to panic over Omicron
WHO chief scientist urges people not to panic over Omicron

Friday, Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist, urged people not to panic over the emergence of the Omicron COVID variant.

She said it was too early to say if coronavirus vaccines would have to be modified to combat it.

In an interview at the Reuters Next conference, Swaminathan said it was impossible to predict if Omicron would become the dominant strain, noting that the right response was to be ready.

“How worried should we be? We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic, because we’re in a different situation to a year ago.”

“Delta accounts for 99 percent of infections around the world. This variant would have to be more transmissible to out-compete and become dominant worldwide. It is possible, but it’s not possible to predict,” she said.

A lot remains unknown about the new variant, Omicron, which has been detected in more than 35 countries.

“We need to wait, let's hope it’s milder ... but it’s too early to conclude about the variant as a whole,” Swaminathan said.