World Health Organization says Covid-19 virus variant in India 'of global concern'
13 Mai, 2021, 11:54 | Auteur: Therese Cote
Experts also caution that it is not yet clear just how much of a factor B.1.617 has played in the explosion of cases in India.
The Indian variant is the fourth classified "of concern" by the World Health Organization, after the variants detected in Britain, Brazil and South Africa.
The WHO update said that "the prevalence of several VOCs including B.1.1.7 and B.1.612 sublineages increased concurrent to the surge in COVID-19 cases reported in India".
'There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility'.
It comes as India is pummeled by its deadliest wave of COVID-19, with almost 4,000 people dying a day, and hundreds of thousands of people testing positive every 24 hours.
As of May 4, the CDC classified the strain and its several sublineages as a "variant of interest".
The B.1.617 variant contains two key mutations to the outer "spike" portion of the virus that attaches to human cells, according to Reuters. They point to a flawless storm of public health blunders, such as permitting enormous political rallies and religious festivals in recent months.
Indian coronavirus infections and deaths held close to record daily highs on Monday, increasing calls for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lock down the world's second-most populous country. The shift suggests that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other variants circulating in India, with the possible exception of B.1.1.7.
The WHO also said it does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported from.
However, the CDC's variant tracking site does include data on B.1.617, suggesting it accounts for just a fraction of a percent of all US cases. It cautioned that India, like many countries, is only sequencing a tiny fraction of positive samples, and that with so little surveillance, it's hard to reach any firm conclusions about B.1.617. It's still rare in the U.S, but rising.
"We need to continually monitor what other variants we may be able to detect locally, as well as monitor the spread of the variants we have already detected", De Guzman said, adding that the seafarers were isolated on their return and had both recovered.
"A recent risk assessment of the situation in India conducted by 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; several religious and political mass gathering events which increased social mixing; and, under use of and reduced adherence to public health and social measures (PHSM)".
"What we know now is that the vaccines work, the diagnostics work, the same treatments that are used for the regular virus work", she told journalists.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the WHO Foundation was launching a "Together for India" appeal to raise funds to purchase oxygen, medicines and protective equipment for health workers.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dubbed B.1.617 a "variant of interest" - a less urgent designation - last week. Surge testing is to start in Nottingham for two weeks after a rise in cases of the Indian variant of Covid .
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