No cases of Omicron variant detected in Russia yet: health minister
No cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant have been registered in Russia so far, the experts are closely monitoring the situation, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Friday, News.Az reports citing TASS.
"There are no cases [of Omicron variant] in Russia so far. Currently, we are actively monitoring [the situation], healthcare organizations are taking samples, including from people returning from abroad," the Russian health minister stated on the sidelines of the International Forum of Civic Engagement ‘We Are Together’.
As Murashko also noted, the screening system works effectively in Russia.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529 variant identified in South Africa as a "Variant of Concern" and assigned it the Greek letter Omicron. In its statement, the WHO noted that this variant had a large number of mutations, some of which were concerning. Several changes at once in the spike protein can potentially hinder the neutralization of the pathogen by antibodies which may impact the effectiveness of vaccines. Additionally, according to preliminary reports, the mutation is much more transmissible.