WHO declares Indian COVID variant ‘of concern’

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The Indian Coronavirus variant, known as B1617, has been declared as a “variant of global concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), the media reported.

The B1617 variant was, till now, deemed a ‘variant of interest’ by the WHO.

The global health body, in a press conference held on Monday, said preliminary studies show the B1617 mutation spreads more easily than other variants and the original virus. The variant has already spread to more than 30 countries, according to the WHO.

The WHO had already classified the UK (B117), South African (B1351) and Brazilian (P1) variants of Covid-19 as “variants of concern.”

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 easy transmission, more severe illness, reduced neutralisation by antibodies or reduced effectiveness of treatment and vaccines.

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