Vaccines Effective Against New Omicron Subvariants, WHO Chief Says


Vaccines are effective against new omicron sub-variants driving a surge in Covid-19 cases in South Africa, the head of the World Health Organization said.

“It’s too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other omicron sub-variants, but early data suggest vaccination remains protective against severe disease and death,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a media briefing in Geneva Wednesday.

Scientists in South Africa and Botswana discovered omicron late last year and South Africa was the first country to experience a major surge of infections as a result of the variant. Now BA.4 and BA.5, two omicron sub-variants, are driving a new spike in cases in South Africa.

Global deaths due to Covid-19 have fallen to the lowest levels since March 2020, with about 15,000 fatalities last week, according to the WHO.