What we know about the new coronavirus variant omicron – CBC

World Health Organization declares B.1.1.529 a variant of concern

Nov 26, 2021

Authorities around the world have reacted with alarm to the recently discovered coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 that the World Health Organization labelled a variant of concern and named omicron Friday.

Canada, the U.S., Britain, the European Union and India are among those announcing stricter border controls as scientists carry out tests to determine if the variant is more transmissible or infectious than others, as well as if it is resistant to vaccines.

At least a dozen countries have confirmed cases of the variant as of Monday, including Canada.

South African scientists doing genomic sequencing detected the new variant on Tuesday in samples from Nov. 14-16.

On Wednesday, South African scientists sequenced more genomes, informed the government that they were concerned and asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to convene its technical working group on virus evolution Friday.

The country has identified around 100 cases of the variant, mostly from its most populated province, Gauteng, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located.

Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/covid-19-variant-south-africa-explainer-1.6263834

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