Indian Variant of Covid-19 Declared as one of Concern by WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared B.1.617 – the Indian variant of COVID-19 as a ‘variant of concern’. WHO has claimed that there is some information available that suggests that the B.1.617 variant of coronavirus has increased transmissibility.
Furthermore, WHO has pointed out, the early studies suggest that there is some reduced neutralization. This means that there is a possibility that vaccines might be less effective against this new variant of coronavirus.
The organization has classified coronavirus variants into two categories i.e. variants of concern and variants under observation. The variants of concern are hard to control and more contagious. These variants also lead to more severe illnesses.
AS per WHO, coronavirus in the B.1.617 lineage was first reported in India during October 2020. India over the last few weeks has witnessed a massive surge in new infections as well as deaths caused by the coronavirus.
Several countries have also imposed travel restrictions on travelers coming from India. Apart from India, the United Kingdom has reported the largest number of cases sequenced as B.1.617 sublineages.
The other three coronavirus mutations that have been designated as of concern by WHO are the variants that have been first detected in Britain, Brazil and South Africa.
Senior Scientist, WHO, Maria Van Kerkhove said,
We are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level. We will continue to see variants of concern around the world, and we must do everything that we can to really limit the spread.
According to the WHO’s COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update issued on May 11, global new deaths caused by COVID-19 and its new cases have decreased slightly this week. As per the reports, 90,000 deaths and over 5.5 million cases have been reported.
However, COVID-19 deaths and case incidence remain at the highest level since the pandemic began. New weekly coronavirus cases have decreased in the regions of Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, the South-East Asia Region continued an upward trajectory for nine weeks and reported a further 6% increase last week. Moreover, deaths have increased in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
At the same time, India continues to account for 93 percent of coronavirus deaths and 95 percent of cases in the South-East Asia Region, as well as 30 percent of global deaths and 50 percent of global cases. Worrying trends have also been observed in its neighboring countries.