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Indian coronavirus variant classified as one of global concern: WHO

Named B.1.617, the mutation spreads more easily than other variants and requires further study stated the World Health Organisation

Sabrangindia 11 May 2021

Image Courtesy:reuters.com

With India reporting more Covid-19 cases than the rest of the world combined, a complete nationwide lockdown may be inevitable it seems. Many states and union territories across the country have already extended their local lockdowns, even though the Union Government is yet to indicate if a national shutdown is expected. India on Monday recorded over 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths, even though this was after a drop in testing over the weekend. The total national tally is now at 22.66 million, with a death toll of 246,116. Despite the comparatively ‘lower number of cases reported on Monday’, India’s new Covid-19 cases are reportedly higher than the combined total of all other countries.

Now the World Health Organization (WHO) has saidd the “India variant” has already spread to more than 30 countries, and states that according to “some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.” Reuters reported that the WHO has said the coronavirus variant first identified in India in 2020 “was being classified as a variant of global concern.” According to the WHO this was based on preliminary studies that showed that it spreads more easily. B.1.617, it is reported to be “the fourth variant to be designated as being of global concern” and the other variants of global concern were first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, stated the news.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told mediapersons, "We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level. There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility." According to Reuters, the WHO has said “the predominant lineage of B.1.617 was first identified in India in December” adding that an “earlier version was spotted in October 2020”. The variant is reported to have already spread to other countries, even though now travel to and from India has been restricted at various places, considering how the pandemic is evolving here.

The WHO has stated that more information will be made available soon and that “even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant and this lineage and all of the sub-lineages". According to WHO chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, who was also quoted in the news report studies are on in India to examine the transmissibility of the variant's, severity of disease it causes, response of antibodies in those who have been vaccinated. She added, "What we know now is that the vaccines work, the diagnostics work, the same treatments that are used for the regular virus works, so there is really no need to change any of those."

Meanwhile, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the WHO Foundation was also launching a “Together for India” appeal to raise funds to purchase oxygen, medicines and protective equipment for health workers. Speaking at the media briefing on COVID-19 on May 10, Ghebreyesus said the “Together for India” appeal will raise funds to “support WHO’s work in India, including the purchase of oxygen, personal protective equipment and medicines.” Ghebreyesus added that “the shocking global disparity in access to vaccines remains one of the biggest risks to ending the pandemic.” According to WHO data, “high-and upper-middle income countries represent 53% of the world’s population, but have received 83% of the world’s vaccines” and “low-and lower-middle income countries account for 47% of the world’s population, have received just 17% of the world’s vaccines.”

Ghebreyesus asked “all countries to develop and implement comprehensive and cohesive national plans, based on the 10 pillars of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.” The end to the pandemic, said Ghebreyesus, depends on “how quickly and how fairly we vaccinate a significant proportion of the global population, and how consistently we all follow proven public health measures.” 

Related:

UP: Covid-19 norms flouted as hundreds turn up for Islamic leader’s funeral
Covid-19: Over 40 bodies wash up on Ganga banks in Bihar!
Covid lockdown: Over 150 academicians voice migrant workers’ demands

Indian coronavirus variant classified as one of global concern: WHO

Named B.1.617, the mutation spreads more easily than other variants and requires further study stated the World Health Organisation

Image Courtesy:reuters.com

With India reporting more Covid-19 cases than the rest of the world combined, a complete nationwide lockdown may be inevitable it seems. Many states and union territories across the country have already extended their local lockdowns, even though the Union Government is yet to indicate if a national shutdown is expected. India on Monday recorded over 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths, even though this was after a drop in testing over the weekend. The total national tally is now at 22.66 million, with a death toll of 246,116. Despite the comparatively ‘lower number of cases reported on Monday’, India’s new Covid-19 cases are reportedly higher than the combined total of all other countries.

Now the World Health Organization (WHO) has saidd the “India variant” has already spread to more than 30 countries, and states that according to “some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.” Reuters reported that the WHO has said the coronavirus variant first identified in India in 2020 “was being classified as a variant of global concern.” According to the WHO this was based on preliminary studies that showed that it spreads more easily. B.1.617, it is reported to be “the fourth variant to be designated as being of global concern” and the other variants of global concern were first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, stated the news.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on Covid-19, told mediapersons, "We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level. There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility." According to Reuters, the WHO has said “the predominant lineage of B.1.617 was first identified in India in December” adding that an “earlier version was spotted in October 2020”. The variant is reported to have already spread to other countries, even though now travel to and from India has been restricted at various places, considering how the pandemic is evolving here.

The WHO has stated that more information will be made available soon and that “even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant and this lineage and all of the sub-lineages". According to WHO chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, who was also quoted in the news report studies are on in India to examine the transmissibility of the variant's, severity of disease it causes, response of antibodies in those who have been vaccinated. She added, "What we know now is that the vaccines work, the diagnostics work, the same treatments that are used for the regular virus works, so there is really no need to change any of those."

Meanwhile, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the WHO Foundation was also launching a “Together for India” appeal to raise funds to purchase oxygen, medicines and protective equipment for health workers. Speaking at the media briefing on COVID-19 on May 10, Ghebreyesus said the “Together for India” appeal will raise funds to “support WHO’s work in India, including the purchase of oxygen, personal protective equipment and medicines.” Ghebreyesus added that “the shocking global disparity in access to vaccines remains one of the biggest risks to ending the pandemic.” According to WHO data, “high-and upper-middle income countries represent 53% of the world’s population, but have received 83% of the world’s vaccines” and “low-and lower-middle income countries account for 47% of the world’s population, have received just 17% of the world’s vaccines.”

Ghebreyesus asked “all countries to develop and implement comprehensive and cohesive national plans, based on the 10 pillars of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.” The end to the pandemic, said Ghebreyesus, depends on “how quickly and how fairly we vaccinate a significant proportion of the global population, and how consistently we all follow proven public health measures.” 

Related:

UP: Covid-19 norms flouted as hundreds turn up for Islamic leader’s funeral
Covid-19: Over 40 bodies wash up on Ganga banks in Bihar!
Covid lockdown: Over 150 academicians voice migrant workers’ demands

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