The World Health Organization has designated a new coronavirus tracking category, VOC-LUM. It includes six variants of Omicron.
WHO has updated coronavirus tracking categories. Information about this is presented on the organization’s website, MV noted.
The widespread distribution of Omicron coronavirus variant lineages around the world and the expected increase in their number has led to the creation of a new category. VOC-LUM, or variants of concern under surveillance, have been added to the three existing ones (VOC, VOI, VUM).
Currently, six new Omicron lines are included in the new category: BA.4 and BA.5, BA.2.12.1, BA.2.9.1, BA.2.11 and BA.2.13.
Three lineages identified in several countries in February and March 2022: BA.2.9.1, BA.2.11 and BA.2.13. Two lines were launched in South Africa in January – BA.4 and BA.5.
The lines will be tracked as part of the new category until there is evidence that the characteristics of the virus are significantly different from Omicron, which will require a separate name.
Omicron has become the dominant coronavirus variant in the world, accounting for 98% of circulating viruses, according to the WHO website. The transmission was stable, which led to the emergence of a significant number of new lines within Omicron with different combinations of mutations. This prompted the WHO to designate a new category for active monitoring to find out whether the lines pose a threat to global health.
The WHO introduced variant tracking categories at the end of 2020. This is due to the emergence of Alpha and Beta variants that pose a threat to public health.