WHO warned on Thursday that the global COVID-19 epidemic is increasing the risk of new, possibly deadly strains emerging in the future.
The pandemic’s persistent problems have been emphasized by the global rise in new cases. According to WHO, cases in Africa reached their second wave high over the seven days ending July 4, and the death toll this week increased by 40%.
There was just one version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the onset of the epidemic. The virus evolved as it traveled throughout the world, spawning hundreds of new variants, some of which were more infectious than the original.
Currently, the WHO has designated four variations of concern using the Greek alphabet. The most recent, the delta variation, was originally discovered in India and has now been found in over 111 countries, accounting for almost 60% of all cases in the United States.
“If it isn’t already, we anticipate it to become the dominant strain circulating worldwide,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
As the virus spreads, additional varieties may develop in the future, making containment even more difficult, according to the WHO.
Vaccines are one of the most significant weapons in the world for preventing the spread of existing SARS-CoV-2 variations, as they reduce the virus’s ability to mutate into new forms. However, many nations lack sufficient vaccination supplies. According to the Global Change Data Lab at the University of Oxford, just 25.8% of the world’s population has gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination.
The WHO emphasized the significance of utilizing all vaccines already licensed for emergency use on Thursday, calling for at least 10% of each country’s population to be vaccinated by September 2021.
Wealthier nations were encouraged by the WHO to share vaccination stockpiles with the rest of the globe. The adoption of evidence-based public health and social measures, such as masks, physical separation, and hand cleanliness, in combination with vaccines, is the most effective method for combating the spread of all SARS-CoV2 strains.
“The virus continues to mutate, resulting in more transmissible forms,” Ghebreyesus warned last week, as the globe saw an increase in infections for the fourth week in a row.