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Vaccines are effective against new Omicron sub-variants that are driving a surge in Covid-19 cases in SA, the head of the World Health Organisation said.

“It’s too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other Omicron sub-variants, but early data suggests vaccination remains protective against severe disease and death,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing in Geneva Wednesday.

Scientists in SA and Botswana discovered Omicron late last year and SA was the first country to experience a major surge of infections as a result of the variant. BA.4 and BA.5, two omicron sub-variants, are driving a new spike in cases in SA. 

Global deaths due to Covid-19 have fallen to the lowest levels since March 2020, with about 15,000 fatalities last week, according to the WHO. 

Still, Tedros urged that countries and health systems continue to test and track the virus to help identify new mutations.

“In many countries we’re essentially blind to how the virus is mutating. We don’t know what’s coming next,” Tedros said. 

Bloomberg. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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