EU agency says Omicron cases so far appear 'mostly mild'. Then cautions

  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said more data is required to determine the severity of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) caused by the Omicron variant that was first detected in South Africa last month.
The agency stressed that the highly transmissible Delta variant, on which experts have enough data, should remain the main concern.(AFP)
The agency stressed that the highly transmissible Delta variant, on which experts have enough data, should remain the main concern.(AFP)
Published on Dec 09, 2021 07:43 PM IST
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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday said cases of Omicron variant so far appear to be “mostly mild” but cautioned that the investigation to arrive at a definite conclusion is still underway. Marco Cavaleri, EMA's head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy,  told a regular press briefing that more data is required to determine the severity of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) caused by the Omicron variant first detected in South Africa last month.

"Cases appear to be mostly mild, however, we need to gather more evidence to determine whether the spectrum of disease severity caused by Omicron is different (to) that of all the variants that have been circulating so far," Cavaleri said.

The agency stressed that the highly transmissible Delta variant, on which experts have enough data, should remain the main concern. It further stated that the agency doesn't have enough data on the impact of the Omicron variant on the effectiveness of the approved Covid-19 vaccines.

"We are reiterating a call to all citizens to complete their primary Covid-19 vaccination and, for those who are eligible, to get a booster shot," the EMA said.

The update from the European agency comes at a time when researchers around the world are scrambling to gather more data on this new variant of concern which has prompted countries to tighten travel restrictions in a bid to contain the spread of Omicron.

The EMA said it has been, meanwhile, working with vaccines manufacturers on contingency plans to "define requirements for advancing potential variant vaccines", adding that it was too early to comment on the possible need to change vaccine composition.

Citing epidemiological data, the EMA also raised concern over an increase in infections and hospitalisation of children aged 5-11 years in recent months. "While children at risk of severe Covid-19 should be given priority, all children in this age group should be considered for vaccination," it said.

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