Travel Industry News at TravelNewsAsia.com since 1997. Interviews, podcasts, videos, pictures and more
Wed, 13 January 2021

New COVID19 Variants Don't Change the Rules of the Game

(13 Jan 2021) A day-long virtual meeting of scientists from around the globe, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, brought together more than 1,750 experts from 124 countries to discuss critical knowledge gaps and research priorities for emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID19.

Welcoming them, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, Science and research have played a vital role in responding to the pandemic since day one and will continue to be the heartbeat of everything WHO does.

The consultation was structured around six thematic areas covering epidemiology and mathematical modelling, evolutionary biology, animal models, assays and diagnostics, clinical management and therapeutics and vaccines.

Scientists noted the importance of research to detect and understand early on the potential impact of emerging variants on diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

There was a consensus on the importance of integrating the new SARS-CoV-2 variants research into the global research and innovation agenda while enhancing coordination across disciplines.

Our collective goal is to get ahead of the game and have a global mechanism to quickly identify and study variants of concern and understand their implications for disease control efforts, said Dr Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, Head of WHOs R&D Blueprint.

It is normal for viruses to mutate, but the more the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to change. High levels of transmission mean that we should expect more variants to emerge.

Of the significant variants reported so far, two in particular - B.1.1.7. and 501Y.V2 - are associated with increases in transmissibility but not disease severity. Research is ongoing to address whether the changes impact public health tools and measures.

Genomic sequencing has been critical in identifying and responding to new variants.

So far an astounding 350,000 sequences have been publicly shared, but most come from just a handful of countries. Improving the geographic coverage of sequencing is critical for the world to have eyes and ears on changes to the virus, said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead on COVID19.

Increasing sequencing capacity across the world is a priority research area for WHO.

Better surveillance and laboratory capacity to monitor strains of concern needs to be accompanied by prompt sharing of virus and serum samples via globally agreed mechanisms so that critical research can be promptly initiated each time.

Scientists highlighted the importance of national data platforms to document critical clinical, epidemiological and virus data that facilitates the detection and assessment of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Whilst some of the new variants are causing a great deal of concern, Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, says they have not changed the game. Speaking at the WHO's press conference on Monday, Dr. Ryan said, This is like adding a substitute in the second half of a football game. It doesn't change the rules of the game, it doesn't change what you do, but it gives the virus some new energy, some new impetus. It adds to the challenge you face because the opposition is bringing on some new players to the field. It doesn't change the rules of the game though. It doesn't change what we need to do to win. It just changes the strength of the opponent, and in that sense we have to take from that we just need to redouble our efforts.

See latest Travel Industry News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, WHO, World Health Organization.

Headlines: How's Business in Pattaya, Thailand? Interview with MD of Tiffany's Show  Laguna Golf Lang Co in Vietnam Joins Asian Tour Destinations  Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi Appoints Charles Fisher as GM  Air New Zealand Requires All Customers to Wear Face Masks  Whitbread Signs Deal with ENGIE for 600 Rapid Charging Points in UK  Air France Expands Partnership with Michelin  Hyatt Hotels in Latin America Offer Free COVID19 Tests to Guests  United Airlines Expands COVID19 Testing and Pre-Clearance Program to Hawaii  DEFIANT X - The Fastest and Most Maneuverable Assault Helicopter in History  Bangkok Airways to Resume BKK - Sukhothai, Trat Flights on 1 February  WTTC Says UK Hotel Quarantines Would Cause Irreparable Damage to Industry  Airbus Delivered 300 Helicopters in 2020; Logged 289 Orders  Swansea University Expands Partnership with Faradair Aerospace  Qatar Airways Increases Flights to Africa  United Airlines Launches Travel-Ready Center  Embraer Completes First ANPI Transaction  Korean Air Expands Baggage Notification / Tracking Service  Cathay Pacific Carried Just 39,989 Passengers in December  Finnair Demands Negative COVID19 Test Results; Resumes UK Flights  Thai AirAsia X Offers Unlimited Changes or Credit to Japan, Korea Ticket Holders  Etihad Airways to Resume Flights to Doha, Qatar  airBaltic Establishes Maintenance Training Organization  Boeing Sets 2030 as Sustainable Fuels Target for Commercial Airplanes  Airbus Flightlab Testing Tomorrow's Aviation Technologies  Marriott Signs First Ritz-Carlton Ski Resort in Europe  BBAM Orders 6 Boeing 737-800 Converted Freighters  UK Court Gives Malaysia Airlines Green Light for Creditors Meeting  Airbus Revises Aircraft Production Rates  IHG Signs First Kimpton Hotel in France  Iberia and Qatar Airways Expand Codeshare Agreement  Turkmenistan Airlines Orders Two Airbus A330-200P2F  Convert Nectar Points into Avios and Vice Versa  Westin Grand Hotel Rebrands as the Hilton Vancouver Downtown  Minor Hotels Partners Funyard for China Expansion  Singapore Airlines Resumes Thrice Weekly Flights to Munich  Qatar Airways to Resume Atlanta Flights; Increase Frequencies to USA  Accor Opens First Movenpick Hotel in Australia  FlyArystan to Launch Five New Routes  Avani Opens Third Hotel in Dubai  50-Room Mantra Hotel Opens in Traralgon, Australia  UK Orders Future Target Acquisition Solution from Elbit Systems  ATPCO Buys SITA's Fare Management System, Airfare Insight  SIA Launches One-Stop Online Solution for COVID19 Pre-Departure Testing  Ultra-Trail World Tour Launches 2021 Season with New Race Format  Volkert Geertsen Appointed GM of sala Bang Pa-in, Thailand  United Airlines Appoints Doreen Burse as SVP - Worldwide Sales  Emirates Starts Vaccinating Staff; Priority Given to Cabin Crew, Pilots etc.  Ovolo Southside in HK Upgrades Food and WiFi for Quarantine Guests  WTTC Looking Forward to a Strong Summer of Travel  Banyan Tree Krabi Opens Spa with Hydrotherapy Facility  Marriott to Open 100 Hotels in Asia Pacific in 2021  Emirates Expected to Implement IATA Travel Pass Phase 1 in April  Air Canada to Resume Boeing 737 MAX Flights on 1 February  Air New Zealand Extends International Schedule to End-June  Etihad Airways to Trial IATA Travel Pass in Q1  Four Seasons Beirut Appoints Georges Ojeil as GM  IATA Supports EU COVID19 Vaccination Certificate Proposal  Negative COVID19 Test Required for Travel to UK  Air New Zealand to Study Effectiveness of Saliva Testing in Detecting COVID19  Executive Appointments at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in Asia Pacific  Four Seasons Toronto Appoints Mary Ann Gamboa as Director of Marketing  First Grand Hyatt Hotel in Saudi Arabia Soft Opens  Lynne Doughtie Joins Boeing's Board of Directors  Hong Kong Rugby Union to Transition Elite Programme in June  Qatar Airways Receives 5-Star COVID19 Airline Safety Rating  Hong Kong Int. Airport Handled Just 8.8 Million Passengers in 2020  Rosewood Signs Very Special Property in Rome, Italy  Cathay Pacific Develops Solution for Vaccine Distribution  Fiji Link Launches Mobile Boarding Passes at Nadi, Suva and Labasa  Latitude 33 Takes Delivery of New Challenger 350 Business Jet  Mesa Opens New Maintenance Hangar at Beja Airport in Portugal  Bangkok Airways Revises Operating Hours of Airports in Thailand  Four Seasons Philadelphia Appoints Charles Lasvigne as Hotel Manager  Singapore Airlines Raises US$500 Million via USD Bond  British Airways Partners Globe-Trotter for 150 Handmade Suitcases  Four Seasons Appoints Albert Au as Executive Chef of Jiang-Nan Chun  All Nippon Helicopters' Airbus H160 Performs Maiden Flight  Travelport Expands Digital Media Solutions with TravelFlan Partnership  Atlas Air to Buy Last Four Brand New Boeing 747 Airplanes  Air Canada to Layoff 1,700 More Employees; Reduces Q1 Capacity  Etihad Airways Launches Children Travel for Free Promotion  Accor Signs First 25hours Hotel in Sydney, Australia  Gordon Ramsay Partners Sunway for First Restaurant in Malaysia  New COVID19 Variants Don't Change the Rules of the Game  Green Light for American Airlines, JetBlue Alliance  DHL Invests in New 13,000㎡ Facility in South Africa  FlyArystan Carried 1.5 Million Passengers in 2020  Dassault Aviation Expands MRO Options  Navy in Asia Pacific Orders Seagull USVs for MCM Operations  Korean Air Receives 5-Star Rating from APEX  IHG Signs Second Crowne Plaza Hotel in Danang, Vietnam  Ascott Reports Record Year; Adds Over 14,200 Units in 71 Properties  Executive Appointments at Delta Cargo  Jeju Air Renews Distribution Agreement with Sabre  Finnair Launches One-Way Fares on Domestic and Intra-Europe Flights  Scandinavian Airlines' President and CEO Resigns  Qatar Airways Resumes Flights to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  SAS Carried Almost 400,000 Passengers in December  Marriott Signs Dual-Branded Property in Saigon, Vietnam  Cathay Pacific Adds WhatsApp to Customer Service Options  Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong to Complete Renovation on 1 February  Four Seasons Napa Valley to Open Early-Spring  Israir to Dry Lease Etihad's Full-Flight Simulators  Airbus Delivered 566 Commercial Aircraft to 87 Customers in 2020  Tom Kerridge Upgrades Culinary Options on BA's Short Haul Flights  Nicola Russo Joins Capella Ubud as Executive Chef  Aviation: Recovery in Passenger Demand Grinds to a Halt in November  Singapore Airlines Extends PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite Statuses  Langham Opens Cordis Hotel in Hangzhou, China  Air Cargo Demand Continues to Improve; Capacity Remains Constrained  Assa Abloy Upgrades Hotel Room Locks at Hilton Surfer's Paradise  St. Regis Hotel Opens in Cairo, Egypt  Korean Air Upgrades App and Website  Marriott Opens 55-Room Boutique Hotel in Lucca, Italy  Four Seasons Seychelles Reopens for Private Retreats  Hyatt Opens First Regency Hotel in Cambodia  Bangkok Airways Closes Lounges, Reduces Flights and Delays Launches  Qatar Airways Increases Flights to São Paulo, Brazil  Asia Pacific Airlines Carried Just 1.4 Million Int. Pax in November  Korean Air Delays Changes to SkyPass FFP; Extends Mileage Validity  STR Appoints Isaac Collazo as Vice President of Analytics  IHG Opens Second voco Hotel in France  Cathay Pacific to Operate Number of Flights to London Heathrow  Hong Kong Extends Airport Relief Package  Cathay Pacific Cargo Launches Flights to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  Marriott Expands JW Brand to Australia with New Gold Coast Hotel  Alaska Airlines Orders More Boeing 737-9 Aircraft  Japan Airlines and Qantas to Form Joint Business  Bombardier Completes Acquisition of Service Centre in Berlin  Aircalin Takes Delivery of First Airbus A320neo  Etihad Airways Launches Charter and Special Flight Services  Shangri-La Offers Free COVID19 Insurance at Hotels in Singapore  Qatar Airways Takes Delivery of 53rd Airbus A350 Aircraft  Lenen Mar A. Porras Joins Cambodia's Dara Hotels Group  Emirates Celebrates Launch of Premium Economy Class with Free Upgrades  Bombardier Receives Firm Order for 10 Challenger 350 Aircraft  Linda Hemels Joins Capella Singapore as EAM - Food & Beverage  Will British & Irish Lions' Tour of South Africa Go Ahead?  Qatar Airways Cargo Takes Delivery of Three More Boeing 777 Freighters  Four Seasons Returns to Bangkok with Brand New Hotel on the River  ASEAN Tourism Forum 2021 Postponed Until January 2022  HD Videos and Interviews  Podcasts from HD Video Interviews  RSS News Feed and Ticker  Travel Trade Shows in 2020 and 2021  High-Res Picture Galleries  Travel News Asia - Latest Travel Industry News 

Receive our Latest Travel News Daily Email free of charge by entering your email address and name in the boxes to the right and clicking subscribe. You can also receive the news by WhatsApp, stay updated with our RSS Feed Free Travel News RSS Feed, and even Add the Headlines to Your Website free of charge. Have questions? Please read our travel news FAQ.

     
Advertising
Advertising
Copyright © 1997-2021 TravelNewsAsia.com