FACT CHECK: World Economic Forum did not report on Omicron variant in July

An article by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on how scientists detect new variants of COVID-19 is being shared on social media.

By Misha Rajani  Published on  3 Dec 2021 10:21 AM GMT
FACT CHECK: World Economic Forum did not report on Omicron variant in July

HYDERABAD: An article by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on how scientists detect new variants of COVID-19 is being shared on social media. Users claim that the organization had discovered the Omicron variant in July.

Netizens claim that although the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the first Omicron variant case in South Africa on November 24, the WEF had reported on the same variant out of South Africa way back in July.



FACT CHECK:

The claim is false.

Confusion on the WEF being aware of the Omicron variant in July arose due to the dateline carried in the viral tweets. Netizens were sharing the article that carried the date July 12, 2021. However, the content is from the updated WEF page. (Example given below)



The original article published by WEF is from July. It talks of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 and how scientists identify and track new virus variants as they arise. The article was updated on November 26 and talks of the recently detected B.1.1.529 strain of COVID-19 'Omicron'.

The team checked the article before November 26 on the Wayback Machine archive page. Articles prior to November 26 do not mention the Omicron variant.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/how-scientists-detect-new-covid-19-variants/ (updated)

https://web.archive.org/web/20210714215707/https://weforum.org/agenda/2021/07/how-scientists-detect-new-covid-19-variants/ (original)


On November 26, WHO named B.1.1.529 strain. Only after this, the WEH article updated the article. It also put the disclaimer and clarified that the article was originally published on July 12, 2021, and updated on November 26 to include information about B.1.1.529.


Evidently, the claim that the WEF reported on the Omicron variant in July is false.

Claim Review:WEF was aware of and reported on the Omicron variant in July
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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