Scientists have detected a new Covid-19 variant called B.1.1.529 and are working to understand its potential implications. About 100 confirmed cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Botswana.
According to the BBC, the variant has been named Omicron by the World Health Organization, following the pattern of Greek code-names like the Alpha and Delta variants. The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021.
B.1.1.52 has a very unusual constellation of mutations, which are worrying because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists have said. Any new variant that is able to evade vaccines or spread faster than the now-dominant Delta variant may pose a significant thre*t as the world emerges from the pandemic.