x

Health

WHO Ηosts Special Meeting on Worrying New COVID-19 Variant

November 26, 2021

GENEVA — Advisers to the World Health Organization are holding a special session Friday to flesh out information about a worrying new variant of the coronavirus that has been detected in South Africa, though a top expert says its impact on COVID-19 vaccines may not be known for weeks.

The technical advisory group on the evolution of COVID-19 was meeting virtually to discuss the so-called B.1.1.529 variant that has caused stock markets to swoon and led the European Union to recommend a pause in flights to southern Africa.

The group could decide if it’s a “variant of concern” — the most worrying type, like the well-known delta variant — or a “variant of interest,” and whether to use a Greek letter to classify it.

“We don’t know very much about this, yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations, and the concern is that when you have so many mutations it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, in a social-media chat Thursday.

Fewer than 100 full genome sequences of the variant are so far available, she said.

“It will take a few weeks for us to understand what impact this variant has on any potential vaccines, for example,” Van Kerkhove said.

Reached by phone, advisory group chairman Dr. Anurag Agrawal, the director of Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi, said it was too soon to comment on the variant. He said that more data was needed before he could add to the information that was already available.

“This is one to watch. I would say we have concern, but I think you would want us to have concern,” Van Kerkhove said. “We have people who are on this.”

RELATED

Summer is the season of smoky BBQs, sweet corn on the cob and juicy watermelon slices.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

It’s Not as World-Famous as Ramen or Sushi. But the Humble Onigiri is Soul Food in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — The word “onigiri” became part of the Oxford English Dictionary this year, proof that the humble sticky-rice ball and mainstay of Japanese food has entered the global lexicon.

New England is known for its diverse and vibrant food scene.

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — An Albanian appeals court on Tuesday upheld a two-year prison sentence for an elected mayor of the country’s Greek minority, in a move expected to further exacerbate tension with neighboring Greece.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The International Criminal Court said Tuesday it has issued arrest warrants for Russia’s former defense minister and its military chief of staff for attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine, the third time the global court has issued warrants for senior Russian leaders.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Lawyers for Donald Trump on Tuesday will ask the judge presiding over his classified documents case to prevent prosecutors from using evidence seized during an FBI search of his Florida estate and recordings made by one of his former attorneys.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.