Global genomic laboratories detected in the last week some 14,000 new cases of coronavirus omicron variant, four times more than the approximately 3,500 of the previous seven days, according to the epidemiological report of the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the analysis of the global network of laboratories GISAID, which collaborates with the WHO, the percentage of detections of the omicron variant in its sequences has risen from 0.1% of a week ago to 1.6% today, although a large majority (96%) are still cases of the delta variant, dominant during 2021.

When analyzing these numbers, it must be taken into account that they add up the analyzes of the last 60 days, so that the real percentage of omicron cases may be even higher, although on the other hand there is a special effort to detect the new variant and the laboratories tend to sequence suspected cases of it.

On the other hand, only a small part of the cases of COVID-19 (approximately one in 40, according to the WHO figures) are analyzed in the laboratory, so the data have a purely statistical value.

In any case, these data continue to confirm that omicron “has transmission advantages over delta”, which reached more than 99% of the laboratory cases analyzed and for two weeks has been losing ground to the strain first detected in South Africa.

In its weekly epidemiological report, the WHO insists that there is still no data on whether omicron produces more or less severe cases of COVID-19, although the increase in hospitalizations in countries where its presence is already very high, such as South Africa or the United Kingdom , confirms that it is a variant of the coronavirus capable of exerting worrying pressure on health systems.

The Geneva-based organization reiterates that preliminary data indicate an increased risk of infection with omicron among those vaccinated and people who have overcome the disease before, so the risk associated with the new variant remains “very high”.

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