COVID-19 Complacency Pushes Identification Of New Variants To Back Seat, WHO Warns

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that it struggles to identify and track new Covid variants as governments roll back the testing.

The U.S. federal government suspended free at-home COVID-19 tests due to a lack of funding.

The warning comes from Norway and South Africa as medical countermeasures, and other tools rollout stagnates.

WHO emphasized that the global pandemic is not over, and coordinated action, funding, and political commitments are still needed.

WHO says that as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its conclusion, many countries are far from meeting global targets on vaccination coverage, testing rates, and access to treatments and PPE.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, said the virus is still circulating at an “incredibly intense level” worldwide, CNBC reported. The WHO is “deeply concerned” that it is evolving at a time when there is no longer robust testing in place to help rapidly identify new variants, Van Kerkhove said.

The WHO is currently tracking about 200 omicron sublineages, Van Kerkhove said. 

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “we have spent two-and-a-half years in a long, dark tunnel, and we are just beginning to glimpse the light at the end of that tunnel.”

According to recent reports, the White House plans to ask about $22.4 billion for Covid-19 vaccines.

Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

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