WHO urges enhanced global surveillance of the mutant novel coronavirus

Jan 20, 2021

More than 1,750 experts from 124 countries attended an online meeting of global scientists convened by the World Health Organization. Countries should step up their efforts to quickly identify and study the emerging novel coronavirus mutant strain, scientists said.

The W.H.O. says mutations are normal, but the more widespread a novel coronavirus is, the more likely it is to mutate. The high spread of novel coronavirus means that more mutant strains are expected to emerge. Now, new variants of the novel coronavirus have been found in the UK, South Africa and Japan that appear to be more transmissible, but there is no evidence that they are deadlier or that the vaccine already approved for emergency use will not have the same effect on them.

In response to the emergence of new strains of the virus, the WHO Emergency Committee stressed the importance of equitable access to vaccines and sharing of data and called for greater global cooperation in ending the epidemic.

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