Fact Check: World Economic Forum did not report the Omicron variant in July

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

By Sabya Singh  Published on  26 Dec 2021 8:18 AM GMT
Fact Check: World Economic Forum did not report the 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 by several social media users with the claim that the organization had discovered the recently-found Omicron variant in July.

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



Fact Check:

The claim that WEF reported the Omicron variant in July is false.

The confusion arose due to the date mentioned in the WEF article – 12 July 2021. But while the date may read 2017, the content in the images/tweets is from the updated WEF report. (Example given below)



The original article was published by WEF in July. It talks of the Delta variant and how scientists identify and track new virus variants as they arise. The article was updated on 26 November and talks of the recently detected B.1.1.529 strain of COVID-19 'Omicron'. The fact-check team checked the archives from before 26 November on the Wayback Machine archive page. Articles prior to 26 November do not mention the Omicron variant.


The WHO, on 26 November, named the B.1.1.529 strain. Only after this, was the WEF article updated. A disclaimer in the article also clarifies that the article was originally published on 12 July 2021 and was updated on 26 November to include information about the new strain B.1.1.529.


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

Claim Review:WEF was aware of and reported 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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