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WHO: SARS-CoV-2 continues to have unpredictable viral evolution, which is compounded by its widespread circulation and intense transmission in humans

Baku, April 14, AZERTAC

“The Committee recognized that SARS-CoV-2 is a novel respiratory pathogen that has not yet established its ecological niche. SARS-CoV-2 continues to have unpredictable viral evolution, which is compounded by its wide-spread circulation and intense transmission in humans, as well as widespread introduction of infection to a range of animal species with potential for animal reservoirs to be established,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement following the eleventh meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the WHO, SARS-COV-2 is continuing to cause high levels of morbidity and mortality, particularly among vulnerable human populations.

The Committee discussed key issues including SARS-CoV-2 variants; use and equitable access to antivirals; vaccine protection and global shifts in the supply and demand for COVID-19 vaccines; hybrid immunity; potential future scenarios for SARS-CoV-2 transmission and challenges posed by concurrent health emergencies; and how Member States are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee also noted with concern the growing fatigue among communities worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges posed by the lack of trust in scientific guidance and governments.

The Committee acknowledged that COVID-19 vaccination is a key tool to reduce morbidity and mortality and reinforced the importance of vaccination (primary series and booster doses, including through heterologous vaccine schedules).

The Committee also expressed appreciation for WHO and partners’ work to enhance global vaccine supply and distribution. Committee members highlighted the challenges posed by limited vaccination protection, particularly in low-income countries, as well as by waning population-level immunity.

The Emergency Committee will be reconvened within three months or earlier, at the discretion of the Director-General.

 

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