Indian Covid variant found in 44 countries, continues to spread, says WHO

Indian Covid variant found in 44 countries, continues to spread, says WHO

"For most people, the "variant of concern" will simply mean being extra vigilant when we stick to the guidance around "hands, face, space" in order to keep each other safe", he said.

The others are those first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil. "There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility".

These variants are seen as more unsafe than the original version of the virus, being either more transmissible, deadlier or not as susceptible to vaccines.

India, suffering from one of the worst outbreaks in the world, reported almost 370,000 fresh infections and more than 3,700 new deaths on Monday. Both figures are assumed to be undercounts.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has defined the Indian strain as "a variant of interest".

Globally, one of the three sublineages of the variant that merged in India now accounts for an estimated 5% of all cases, according to data.

David Johns, interim director of public health in Nottingham, said the cases had been found in Nottingham city by Public Health England. The Indian virus strains now remain under this classification.

India has reported 22.6 million COVID cases (second most in the world) and more than 246,000 deaths (third most in the world), with case counts and death counts growing by the day.

The WHO has said the predominant lineage of B.1.617 was first identified in India in December, although an earlier version was spotted in October 2020. Indian health officials first detected the variant last month.

There have been 335 cases of B.1.617 found in the date.

Sublineage B.1.617.2 is the most common of B.1.617's deviations.

"Since the importance of variants may differ by location, CDC, in collaboration with the SIG [SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group], is closely monitoring the emergence of the B.1.617 variant in the United States and this variant has been prioritized for characterization by the USA government to better understand the potential impact on available medical countermeasures, including vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics", said Jade Fulce, CDC spokesperson, in an emailed statement.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead for Covid-19, said during a press conference that while "we need much more information about this virus variant", preliminary studies of the mutation have demonstrated "increased transmissibility".

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO Foundation was launching a "Together for India" appeal to raise funds to purchase oxygen, medicines and protective equipment for health workers.

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