The Indian variant has been discovered in “at least 17 countries,” according to the World Health Organization

The Indian variant has been discovered in "at least 17 countries," according to the World Health Organization

A patient infected with COVID-19 is on a stretcher outside a New Delhi hospital – Agence France-Presse

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday (27) the discovery of the Indian type of Coronavirus, suspected of being responsible for plunging India into a major health crisis, in “at least 17 countries.”

According to the World Health Organization, variant B.1.617, known as the Indian variant, has been detected in more than 1,200 genome sequences in “at least 17 countries”.

“Most of the chains uploaded to the GISAID database come from India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore,” the World Health Organization said in its weekly report on the epidemic.

In recent days, the variant has also been detected in several European countries, such as Belgium, Switzerland, Greece and Italy.

The initial sequencing-based WHO study submitted to GISAID indicates that “B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other variants prevalent in India, indicating that it is more contagious”.

The World Health Organization recently classified this variable as a “variable of interest” and not a “variable of concern”. If this is the latter, then this means that it is more dangerous (more contagious, more lethal and tolerant to vaccines).

The alternative still raises doubts. The World Health Organization says the sudden rise in cases in India may also be due to “other behaviors”, such as non-compliance with health restrictions and the large number of gatherings.

The organization notes that other variables being traded are also highly contagious and that the combination of factors “may play a role in reactivating cases” in India.

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The country faces a blast in cases, breaking the world record with 352,991 new infections and a national record of 2,812 deaths on Monday, bringing the total number of cases worldwide to 147.7 million.

There is an urgent need for “additional investigations” into the infection, severity and risk of reinfection for the Indian variant, to understand its role in the Indian health crisis.

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