• Monday, Sep 20, 2021
  • Last Update : 03:39 am

WHO: Indian Covid-19 variant found in 44 countries

  • Published at 09:51 am May 12th, 2021
India Covid Hospital
A woman waits inside an ambulance for her turn to enter a Covid-19 hospital for treatment, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease in Ahmedabad, India, April 28, 2021 Reuters

Outside of India, Britain had reported the largest number of Covid-19 cases caused by the variant

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that a variant of Covid-19 behind the acceleration of India's explosive outbreak has been found in dozens of countries all over the world.

The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, first found in India in October, had been detected in more than 4,500 samples uploaded to an open-access database "from 44 countries in all six WHO regions."

"And WHO has received reports of detections from five additional countries," it said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

Outside of India, it said that Britain had reported the largest number of Covid-19 cases caused by the variant.

Earlier this week, the WHO declared B.1.617 -- which counts three so-called sub-lineages with slightly different mutations and characteristics -- as a "variant of concern."

It was therefore added to the list containing three other variants of Covid-19 -- those first detected in Britain, Brazil, and South Africa.

The variants are seen as more dangerous than the original version of the virus because they are either being more transmissible, deadly or able to get past some vaccine protections.

'Rapid increase' 

The WHO explained Wednesday that B.1.617 was added to the list because it appears to be transmitting more easily than the original virus, pointing to the "rapid increases in prevalence in multiple countries."

WHO also pointed to "preliminary evidence" that the variant was more resistant to treatment with the monoclonal antibody Bamlanivimab, and also highlighted early lab studies indicating "limited reduction in neutralisation by antibodies."

It stressed, though, that "real-world impacts" on the effectiveness of vaccines against the variant for instance "may be limited."


Also Read - WHO classifies India variant as being of global concern


WHO said the spread of B.1.617, alongside other more transmittable variants, appeared to be one of several factors fuelling India's dramatic surge in new cases and deaths.

India -- a country of 1.3 billion people -- is the world's second-most infected after the United States with nearly 23 million Covid-19 cases, and is currently recording more than 300,000 new cases and close to 4,000 deaths each day.

The new surge in cases has ravaged major cities, including the capital New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai, pushing hospitals to breaking point and leading to severe shortages in oxygen and beds.

"WHO found that resurgence and acceleration of Covid-19 transmission in India had several potential contributing factors, including increase in the proportion of cases of Sars-CoV-2 variants with potentially increased transmissibility," it said.

It also pointed to "several religious and political mass gathering events which increased social mixing; and, under-use of and reduced adherence to public health and social measures."

"The exact contributions of each of these factors on increased transmission in India are not well understood."

WHO stressed that so far, only 0.1% of positive Covid-19 tests in India had been genetically sequenced and uploaded to the GISAID database to identify the variant in question.

By the end of April, B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 accounted for 21 and 7% respectively of all sequenced samples from India, it said.

In addition, other more contagious variants are also spreading in the country, including B.1.1.7, which was first detected in Britain.

61
Facebook 58
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail