Washington DC, 8/12: The Omicron variant appears to be no worse than other coronavirus strains, top scientists from the WHO and the United States told AFP while cautioning that more research is needed to judge its severity.
The hopeful assessments came as global concern grew over the heavily mutated variant, which has forced dozens of nations to re-impose border restrictions and raised the possibility of a return of economically punishing lockdowns.
While it is likely more transmissible than previous variants, Omicron is also “highly unlikely” to completely evade vaccine protections, the World Health Organization’s second-in-command told AFP on Tuesday.
“The preliminary data doesn’t indicate that this is more severe. In fact, if anything, the direction is towards less severity,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said in an interview, insisting though that more research was needed.