Indian COVID-19 variant found in nearly 17 countries, informs World Health Organization

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday informed that the Indian variant, which is said to be one of the reasons behind the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country has been found in nearly 17 other countries. However, there is not enough data to call it a matter of concern. The COVID-19 variant, B.1.617, which was first found in India has been detected in over 1,200 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database, according to the UN health agency.

Apart from India, sequences have been uploaded from the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore as well. 

“Most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore,” said the WHO in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

The WHO has listed B.1.617 as a “variant of interest” with its slightly different characteristics and mutations. The organization further revealed that initial research based on the sequences submitted to GISAID suggests that the latest variant has greater transmissibility meaning a higher growth rate. The report also warned that other variants circulating in the country have also shown increasing transmissibility resulting in the sudden surge in fresh cases. 

More investigation needed

The WHO concluded that further investigation is needed to understand how these factors are contributing to the sudden outbreak of the virus. The organization directed that deep study on B.1.617 and other variants is urgently needed. This also includes thorough research on transmissibility, severity and the risk of reinfection. Casualty showed by the general public cannot also be ignored while talking about the current spread of the virus, remarked WHO. 

India COVID-19 dilemma

India is currently under the focus as COVID-19 cases have spiked beyond control. More than 3 lakh fresh cases have been reported daily in the country for the past seven days with a high death rate. The recovery rate is falling compared to the last year and the country is in urgent need of medical equipment. In a helpful turn, India is getting assistance from countries around the world to fight the current crisis. More than 2 lakh people have scummed to the virus in India with 3,286 death recorded in the last 24 hours.

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