Health Indian Covid Variant Found In 44 Countries: WHO

Indian Covid Variant Found In 44 Countries: WHO

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The World Health Organization on Wednesday said 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, reported news agency AFP.

The UN health organization said that 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.

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”.

WHO said that B.1.617 variant appears to be transmitting more easily than the original virus, pointing to the “rapid increases in prevalence in multiple countries”.

India is the world’s second-most infected country 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 surge in Covid-19 cases in the country has pushed 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,” the WHO said.

The agency 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 also stressed only 0.1 percent of positive Covid tests in India had been genetically sequenced and uploaded to the GISAID database to identify the variant in question.

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