New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: After classifying it as a variant of concern, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said that the coronavirus, which triggered an exponential growth of the deadly infection in India, is present in over 40 countries across the globe. As per the WHO, the B.1.617 variant of the COVID-19, which was first found in India in October last year, had been detected in over 4,500 samples from 44 countries in all six regions of the WHO.

“And WHO has received reports of detections from five additional countries."

Earlier on Monday, the WHO had classified COVID-19 as the 'variant of concern'. The B.1.617 mutation, which counts three so-called sub-lineages with slightly different characteristics, was therefore added to the list of other three variants of concern first found in the UK, 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.

The WHO said that B.1.617 was added to the list because it appears to be transmitted 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".

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, with a 1.3 billion population, is the world’s second-most infected after the United States with nearly 23 million COVID-19 cases.

The new surge in cases has ravaged major cities, including the national capital New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai, pushing hospitals to breakpoint 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 an increase in the proportion of cases of SARS-CoV-2 variants with potentially increased transmissibility," it said, adding, “the exact contributions of each of these factors on increased transmission in India are not well understood."


(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan