The mutant, which has been recorded as “omicron” in South Africa, is of significant concern
Countries are frantically banning flights and drugmakers are scrambling to test vaccines
The World Health Organization just classified the Coronavirus that South Africa contracted as one that is “of concern” to the U.S., Europe, and anyone else flying in or out of South Africa. This has caused all flights to be canceled so far and caused many markets to take a dip.
The variant “Omicron” was first detected in a sample collected on 9th November. A rising cluster of cases was reported from Johannesburg and nearby countries, causing alarm because this particular variant has a number of unusual mutations on its spike protein.
There is widespread fear that this specific variant might not be eradicated by drugs or vaccines, but scientists believe they need to learn more over the next few days.
“This variant has a lot of mutations, some of which are troubling.” Early reports seem to suggest an increased risk for reinfection with this variant as compared to other variants, the WHO said on Friday. This variant has been on the rise and can be seen in almost every province of South Africa.
Other countries are ordering genomic sequencing of any samples they can find to see if the mutation is also affecting them. So far there have only been two reported cases in Hong Kong and one in Belgium, making it the first reported case in Europe.