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No report of death from Omicron COVID variant - WHO

BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has received no report of death related to the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus and stressed that the Delta strain remains the focus of the fight against the pandemic.
 
At a UN news conference on Friday, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told journalists that the organization is still collecting evidence on the new variant that was tracked down in southern Africa on November 11.
 
Mr. Lindmeier said Omicron may be on the rise and could take over as the dominant variant.
 
Since COVID-19 was first discovered nearly two years ago, the WHO has confirmed almost 263 million cases and more than 5.22 million fatalities globally.
 
Adjust vaccines 
 
Mr. Lindmeier said the makers of COVID-19 vaccines should gear up for the likelihood of needing to adjust their products to protect against the new variant.          
 
In an interview with Reuters, Germany's BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said the company would most likely not be able to prevent the first set of infections but should be able to adapt its coronavirus vaccine in about 100 days to respond to the Omicron strain.
 
However, he remained confident that those fully vaccinated and boosted will still have sufficient protection against new variants. 
 
Mr. Sahin said the rapid mutation of the coronavirus is strengthening the likelihood that yearly boosters will be needed. 
 


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