Super mutant Omicron is finally emerging across the world. On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed its presence in 106 countries. Israel and the US reported the first death due to the variant.
Alongside, pharma major AstraZeneca stated that research is underway for developing an Omicron-specific vaccine. “Together with Oxford University, we have taken preliminary steps in producing an Omicron variant vaccine, in case it is needed and will be informed by emerging data,” the statement read.
The WHO’s weekly report noted that the time frame between December 13 and 19, saw more than 41.77 lakh new cases across the world, of which over 26.11 lakh, or 63 per cent, were from Europe. Even though Omicron is believed to be the push behind the surge, Delta continues to be the dominant variant of concern.
Of the over 10.51 lakh genome sequences done between October 20 and December 19 across the world, close to 10.1 lakh, or about 96 per cent, were found to be that of the Delta variant, and only about 17,000 (less than 2 per cent) were that of Omicron. The WHO numbers are based on report deposited in public databases like GISAID.