“All viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, change over time. Most changes have little to no impact on the virus’ properties. However, some changes may affect the virus’ properties, such as how easily it spreads, the associated disease severity, or the performance of vaccines, therapeutic medicines, diagnostic tools, or other public health and social measures.
WHO, in collaboration with partners, expert networks, national authorities, institutions and researchers have been monitoring and assessing the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 since January 2020. During late 2020, the emergence of variants that posed an increased risk to global public health prompted the characterization of specific Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs), in order to prioritize global monitoring and research, and ultimately to inform the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO and its international networks of experts are monitoring changes to the virus so that if significant mutations are identified, we can inform countries and the public about any changes needed to react to the variant, and prevent its spread. Globally, systems have been established and are being strengthened to detect “signals” of potential VOIs and VOCs and assess these based on the risk posed to global public health. National authorities may choose to designate other variants of local interest/concern.”“Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants” – World Health Organization
To read more about what WHO is doing to track variants, please click the link above.
Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!