It is considered a concern and continues to spread at high speed. The corona variant B.1.617, first discovered in India, is now available in dozens of countries.
Geneva (dpa) – Corona variant B.1.617, initially discovered in India, has now been found in more than 40 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
More than 4,500 gene sequences analyzed from 44 countries had been assigned to B.1,617 and there were reports of evidence from five other countries, the authority announced in Geneva on Tuesday. On Monday, the UN agency classified the variant as “concerning”. Previously, the WHO had initially only designated variants registered in this way in Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.
The WHO divides potentially threatening variants of Sars-CoV-2 into two categories: variants under observation (“variants of interest”) and variants of concern (“variants of concern”). The latter turn out to be more contagious, more difficult to control and / or lead to more serious disease courses.
There is evidence of higher transmission rates in B.1.617, and a rapid spread in several countries has been observed, according to WHO. It is still unclear whether the effectiveness of vaccines or drugs in the mutant is limited. Initial results of laboratory studies indicated a “moderate reduction in antibody neutralization”. The extent to which this actually affects the effects of vaccines and medicines and the risk of renewed infections is not yet known with certainty.
In India, hundreds of thousands are currently infected with Sars-CoV-2 every day. More than 22.9 infections have been recorded in the South Asian country since the start of the pandemic. The WHO announced that gene sequencing was performed in only about 0.1 percent of samples that tested positive for corona. Outside of India, Great Britain reports the highest number of infections with variant B.1.617 so far. There, a relatively large number of samples are sequenced.
According to the WHO, the number of new infections is currently declining in most regions of the world, including Europe and America. However, there is still a surge in South Asia and Southeast Asia. More than 5.5 million cases and about 90,000 deaths related to the pandemic were counted worldwide last week.
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