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WHO “There are no reports of Omicron-related deaths yet… We need to focus on vaccine distribution” (Comprehensive)

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said on the 3rd (local time) that it had not yet seen any reports of deaths related to Omicron, a new variant of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Omicrons can increase, and we may get to a point where the omicron becomes a dominant strain, but at this point the dominant variation is still a delta.”

WHO chief scientist Dr. Sumiya Swaminatan said in an interview with Reuters on the same day, citing data from South Africa, where the number of new cases has surged recently, saying that the omicron mutation is “very contagious.”

But regarding the Omicron response, he said, “we have to be prepared, we have to be cautious, but we don’t have to panic, because we are in a different situation than we were a year ago.”

WHO emergency response director Michael Ryan said there is still no evidence to support changing the current COVID-19 vaccine to accommodate the Omicron mutation.

“Currently, we have a very effective vaccine,” he said.

BioNtech CEO Ugur Sahin said the current vaccine will continue to be effective in preventing severe cases despite the mutation.

“In principle, at some point we believe we will need a new vaccine against this new mutation,” he added, adding that the company could develop it relatively quickly.

[연합뉴스]

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