World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 as Omicron India. New COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. According to WHO, the strain may spread more quickly than other forms. It has a large number of mutations. WHO said that preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant as compared to other variants. WHO also said that current PCR tests continue to successfully detect the variant.
About the Omicron:
- The classification puts Omicron into the most-troubling category of COVID-19 variants, along with the globally-dominant Delta, plus its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
- Apart from South Africa, Omicron has been detected in Israel in a person coming from Malawi; Botswana; Belgium and Hong Kong.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- WHO Established: 7 April 1948;
- WHO Director General: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus;
- WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.