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World Health Organization classifies Indian coronavirus mutation as a 'variant of concern'

World Health Organization classifies Indian coronavirus mutation as a 'variant of concern'”

A top official at the World Health Organisation said Monday the organization will classify a coronavirus variant first found in India as a global health concern.

The B.1.617 variant is the fourth variant to be designated as being of global concern and requiring heightened tracking and analysis.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's COVID-19 technical lead, said during a press conference that the B.1.617 variant appeared to spread more readily in preliminary studies released ahead of peer review.

'There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility'.

The federal government has suspended flights from India and Pakistan due to their rising COVID-19 case counts. Both figures are assumed to be undercounts.

The Rhode Island Department of Health is reporting the first case of the Indian coronavirus variant B.1.61 in the state.

Often called a 'double mutant, ' the strain has mutations to two parts of its spike protein that help it latch onto human cells, B.16.17 has split into three closely related sublineages that together account for more than 75 percent of cases in India, and a little more than one percent of USA cases.

They are the first confirmed cases of the variant in the region.

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Government has called for calm with the diagnosis of these two new variants of concerns in this country.

The most glaring development was that the United Kingdom variant had been detected in a sequence from a community transmission.

Seeking a list of the people of the bordering areas who have travelled to and from India in the past 15 days, the minister also mandated Covid-19 test for their family members.

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.

Some 520 cases of B.1.617.2 have been detected in Britain so far - largely as a result of importation from overseas.

"Of the 12 swab samples of the infected people collected randomly from Lalitpur, B.1.617.2 was found in swab samples of nine people", Dibesh Karmacharya, executive director at the Center for Molecular Dynamics-Nepal, told the Post. It's still rare in the U.S, but rising.

"Another variant that is now dominating Covid-19 infections in Europe and North America, B.1.1.7 has also been detected in South Africa".

Scientists warn that if the virus is allowed to spread unchecked in parts of the world with lower vaccine coverage, unsafe variants will continue to evolve, threatening all countries. But there are still many unknowns around the impact on diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, she noted.



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