Covid variant first detected in India found in 44 other countries: WHO

WION Web Team
Geneva, Switzerland Published: May 12, 2021, 08:26 AM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

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The B.1.617 variant of coronavirus, which was first identified in India in October, has been detected in more than 4,500 samples

The variant of coronavirus that has wreaked havoc in India has been found in dozens of other countries all around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday.

As per the UN health agency, the B.1.617 variant of coronavirus, which was first identified in India in October, has been detected in more than 4,500 samples from "44 countries in all six WHO regions" through an open-access database.

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The agency has also "received reports of detections from five additional countries", WHO updated.

This has been announced a few hours after the WHO labelled this variant as a "variant of concern" and has been added to the list of the deadly variants along with the ones found in Brazil and the UK. These three variants are being labelled to be more dangerous than the original version of the deadly virus that broke out towards the end of 2019.

After India, the B.1.617 variant has been majorly found in the UK. It has been added to the list as it seems to be transmitting faster and more easily than the original virus and, thus, hints towards the "rapid increases in prevalence in multiple countries".

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WHO has also warned that this variant might be more resistant to the existing vaccines and treatment with the monoclonal antibody Bamlanivimab. While this is based on preliminary evidence, the WHO stressed that "real-world impacts" on the effectiveness of the existing vaccines might be limited.

Talking about the spread of this variant in India, leading to a covid crisis in the country, the WHO said, "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."

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