World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday commented on the new variant of the novel coronavirus being experienced in the U.K. and South Africa, stating while it transmits easier, there’s no evidence at this time that proves it’s deadlier. Tedros also said virus mutations are "natural" and "expected."
Tedros also reiterated the need for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to reach "the world’s poorest and most vulnerable" people in low-income countries to end the pandemic. He said even though the Covax facility last week (which assists in the production, development and distribution of vaccines) had "secured access" to nearly $2 billion of "promising vaccine candidates," it still requires US$4.6 billion to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for at least 20 per cent of low-income countries’ populations.
WHO COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said the new strain of the novel coronavirus from the U.K., which was first reported to the WHO on Dec. 14, is being studied in labs, which are looking for three different things with this version of the virus: transmission, severity of illness and the body’s antibody response following infection. She added studies are ongoing regarding this new variant.
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