WHO says India Covid variant of ‘global concern’

WHO says India Covid variant of 'global concern'
The WHO has classified the coronavirus variant first found in India last year as a "variant of global concern"
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Daily US Times: The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the India coronavirus variant as a “variant of global concern.” The variant of coronavirus first found in India last year.

The global health body said preliminary studies show the B.1.617 mutation spreads more easily than other variants and requires further study.

The variant has already spread to more than 30 countries, according to the WHO.

Three other variants from South Africa, the UK and Brazil have been given the same designation.

A mutation is elevated from a “variant of interest” to a “variant of concern” (VOC) when it shows evidence of fulfilling at least one of several criteria, including more severe illness, easy transmission, reduced neutralisation by antibodies or reduced effectiveness of treatment and vaccines.

The India variant is being studied to establish whether it is responsible for a deadly Covid surge in India, which is currently overwhelming hospitals, clinics and crematoriums.

India reported 366,161 new coronavirus infections and 3,754 deaths on Monday, down from record peaks. The actual figures could be far higher than reported, experts say.

Surging Covid-19 cases have meant that oxygen shortages in the hospitals and clinics continue to be a problem and have spread beyond the capital, Delhi.

Local media in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh reported that 11 Covid-19 patients died overnight in the city of Tirupati after an oxygen tanker supplying the hospital was delayed.

The government of India says there is evidence of a link between the variant and India’s deadly second wave, but that the correlation is not yet “fully established”.

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