As the Omicron variant has been detected in several countries, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said that there is no evidence yet to suggest if the Omicron variant is more severe than other variants.
Singapore has preliminarily detected two imported Covid-19 cases with the Omicron variant.
“There is currently no evidence to suggest that symptoms associated with the Omicron variant are different or more severe than those of other variants, or that current vaccines and therapeutics would be ineffective against Omicron,” the ministry said.
“We have also been closely monitoring studies on the sensitivity of Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) to the Omicron variant,” it added.
The ministry mentioned that preliminary validation by the manufacturers shows that ARTs remain effective in detecting Covid-19 cases of the Omicron variant, and laboratories are doing further biochemical tests to confirm these results.
These initial results give confidence that ARTs remain effective as a method of detecting Covid-19, including Omicron cases.
The new Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24.
Recently, a Singapore-based infectious disease doctor Leong Hoe Nam of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital warned that the new variant Omicron will likely “overwhelm the whole world” in the coming months.
According to the National Association for Manufacturers, vaccines against the strain can be developed quickly, but they need to be tested over three to six months to prove that they can provide immunity against the variant.