- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

WHO: Omicron Strain Found in 63 Countries, Might Surpass Delta in Spreading Speed

© REUTERS / Eva PlevierA medical worker stores a swab in a vial at XL Schiphol test location, after Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on flights from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 27, 2021.
A medical worker stores a swab in a vial at XL Schiphol test location, after Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on flights from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 27, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.12.2021
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GENEVA (Sputnik) - The new Omicron coronavirus strain was found in 63 countries and, according to preliminary data, it will exceed Delta's spreading speed in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
"As of 9 December 2021, cases of human infections with this variant have been identified in 63 countries across all six WHO regions," the overview by the WHO read.
It is not clear yet, why the new strain is spreading so fast, the organization added.
"However, given the current available data, it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs," the document said.
People walk along the river Thames after new measures were announced yesterday due to the Omicron coronavirus variant, in London, Britain, November 28, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.12.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
UK Could Hit 1Mln Omicron Cases by Month's End, Health Minister Says
The Omicron variant might reduce the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines based on preliminary data, but this strain is less dangerous than Delta, the organization assumed.
"There are limited available data, and no peer-reviewed evidence, on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness to date for Omicron. Preliminary evidence, and the considerably altered antigenic profile of the Omicron spike protein, suggests a reduction in vaccine efficacy against infection and transmission associated with Omicron," the statement said.
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