Docsun Biomed Report on Detection of Omicron Variant in South-East Asia

By: WHO and CDC
JHUBEI CITY, Taiwan - Dec. 16, 2021 - PRLog -- India has confirmed cases of Omicron, the World Health Organization emphasizes that countries in South-East Asia Region should further strengthen COVID-19 response measures to curtail the spread of the virus and its variants.

Within a week of announcement of Omicron as a new variant of concern, India on 2nd of December 2021 confirmed the variant in two persons detected with COVID-19, the first few cases in WHO South-East Asia Region.

Studies are underway to evaluate Omicron's transmissibility, severity, reinfection risk, immune escape potential, clinical presentation, response to other available countermeasures etc. Preliminary evidence suggest higher transmissibility and potential immune escape that could lead to surge in cases. Regardless of change in severity, increase in cases alone may pose overwhelming demand on health care systems and may lead to increased morbidity and mortality.

Event based surveillance must be enhanced such as – rapid spread of outbreaks in healthcare facilities or communities which may be triggered by a variant that spreads more easily from person to person. Or increase in cases among populations expected to have a high level of immunity with prior infections or high vaccination coverage, which may indicate the presence of a variant able to evade the immune response.

Even as studies are ongoing to understand effectiveness of vaccines and therapeutics in view of the multiple mutations in Omicron, it is reasonable to assume that currently available vaccines offer protection against severe disease and death. These include older adults, health care workers and those with underlying conditions which puts them at risk of severe disease and death.

National authorities should apply a multi-layered risk mitigation approach to potentially delay export or import of the new variant. Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, instead they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.

The use of masks, physical distancing, ventilation of indoor space, crowd avoidance, and hand hygiene remain key to reducing transmission of COVID-19, even in the context of emerging variants, she said.  These measures may need to be enhanced, to further limit interpersonal contact, to control transmission with a more transmissible variant. Countries should be ready to escalate public health and social measures in a timely manner to avoid overwhelming demands on health care services.

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