WHO: Indian Corona variant detected in more than 40 countries

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Corona variant B.1.617, initially discovered in India, has now been detected in more than 40 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than 4,500 analyzed gene sequences from 44 countries have been assigned to B.1.617, and there are also reports of detections from five other countries, the agency said in Geneva.

On Monday, the UN agency had classified the variant as “of concern.” Previously, the WHO had only so designated variants initially recorded in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

Rapid spread of Corona variant
Potentially threatening variants of SARS-CoV-2 are classified by the WHO into two categories: Variants under observation (“variants of interest”) and variants of concern. The latter have been shown to be more contagious, more difficult to control, and/or lead to more severe courses of disease.

There is evidence of higher transmission rates of B.1,617, and rapid spread in several countries has been observed, WHO said. Whether the effectiveness of vaccines or drugs is limited in the mutant is still unclear, it said.

Initial results of laboratory studies indicated a “moderate reduction in neutralization by antibodies.” However, the extent to which this actually has an impact on the efficacy of vaccines and drugs and the risk of re-infection cannot yet be determined with certainty.

In India, hundreds of thousands of people are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 every day. More than 22.9 infections have been recorded in the South Asian country since the pandemic began. Only about 0.1 percent of the samples that tested positive for Corona had undergone gene sequencing to determine the variant, the WHO said. Outside India, the highest number of infections with variant B.1.617 has been reported in the United Kingdom, where a comparatively large number of samples are sequenced.

According to WHO, the number of new infections is currently falling in most regions of the world, including Europe and the Americas. However, there continues to be a sharp increase in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Worldwide, more than 5.5 million cases and about 90,000 deaths related to the pandemic were counted last week.

In Austria, three suspected cases of the Indian corona mutation have so far been confirmed by AGES in Burgenland. The chain of infection could be interrupted. The three cases occurred in a family of four in Nickelsdorf. The second child has also been positive in the meantime. However, this case was not investigated further by AGES, as it was assumed to be the same variant. In Austria, there have also been suspected cases in Salzburg, Tyrol and Lower Austria.

— source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com

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