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Strong likelihood of more dangerous COVID-19 variants – WHO.

Image Credit: Laurent gillieron/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a ‘strong likelihood’ of more virulent and dangerous variants of coronavirus in the near future. This will undoubtedly make it harder to contain and hence will diminish global efforts to halt the pandemic.

The Committee recognised the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.

WHO.

This news would not bode well with governments and billions of people after their freedom of movement has been severely restricted for more than a year, but unfortunately the huge number of variants of the virus since February 2020 only suggest that there are more to come unless the virus could be contained around the World immediately which is highly unlikely. The following are all the variants of COVID-19.

Known coronavirus variants

Information obtained from WHO.int

Variant of Concern (VOC) refers to a variant that has spread globally or has increased virulence or has decreased effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics. 

Variant of Interest (VOI) refers to those variants that have shown some genetic changes that are known to affect the characteristics of the virus that may make it more transmissible, deadly, ability to avoid host immune system and therapeutic or diagnostic escape. The variant would also be able to have spread in communities in multiple countries along with a gradual increase in the number of cases over time suggesting an emerging risk to global public health.

The WHO panel also pointed out that while the Delta variant is rapidly spreading globally, the other four variants of concern continue to evolve and they agreed that the pandemic is nowhere close to being finished. The WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged all countries to vaccinate at least 10% of the population by the end of September 2021.

More details to follow.

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