Geneva : The World Health Organisation on Friday alarmed the siren among countries after a new variant of COVID-19 has been classified in South Africa, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said in a statement.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. This came after the WHO held a meeting to discuss the newly-identified COVID-19 variant.
"The recently discovered variant of coronavirus B.1.1.529 is of concern. It has more mutations than science knows about other alarming variants. The WHO has assessed this new variant as worrisome," the statement said.
"Existing coronavirus vaccines may be less effective against the new COVID-19 variant, the statement added.
The FOPH also informed that the new variant is more transmissible than the "delta" strain, which previously became globally dominant.
This variant has been labelled as B.1.1.529 by scientists.
WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said after the meeting that early analysis shows that this variant has a large number of mutations that require and will undergo further study.