Omicron will likely become the dominant form of the coronavirus in Europe within the next month, overtaking other variants such as Delta, according to an expert.
"At the moment, Omicron is still rare in Europe," Richard Neher, head of the Evolution of Viruses and Bacteria research group at the University of Basel, said in an interview published on the university's website on Monday.
"But if the evolution continues like this, Omicron will be predominant in Europe in about two to four weeks," he said.
Data from Denmark and Britain suggest that the number of Omicron infections is doubling every three to four days.
The transmission rate is three times that of Delta. The reason for this is that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are infected.
Vaccinated people were better protected against infection with the Delta variant than with Omicron.
However, vaccinated and especially people who have received a booster shot are still protected against a severe course of the disease Covid-19 with Omicron, according to the expert.
Neher said inequality in the global distribution of vaccines had to be addressed as soon as possible.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has sharply criticized the fact that dozens of countries are still waiting for enough vaccine doses to fully immunize their health workers, while rich countries are administering booster shots.