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It has a name: New COVID variant causing global alarm dubbed ‘Omicron’

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The World Health Organization on Friday declared the recently discovered B.1.1.529 strain of COVID-19 to be a variant of concern, renaming it Omicron.

“Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology… the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern, named Omicron,” the UN health agency said in a statement.

Health experts have said the strain is the most concerning since the Delta variant, which has become the world’s most prevalent. Omicron, like Delta before it, is a letter in the Greek alphabet.

The announcement Friday from the United Nations health agency marks the first time in months that WHO has classified a COVID-19 variant as a variant of concern.

The discovery of the new variant sent a chill through much of the world Friday as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency........

© The Times of Israel

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