By Yoshita Singh :
THE B.1.617 COVID-19 variant, first detected in India, has now been found in 53 countries, according to the WHO, which noted that India recorded 23 pc decrease in number of new cases in the last seven days but they were still highest in the world. World Health Organisation’s Weekly Epidemiological Update, published on May 25, said that over the past week, the number of new cases and deaths continued to decrease globally, with over 4.1 million new cases and 84,000 new deaths reported, a 14 per cent and 2 per cent decrease respectively compared to the previous week.
According to the update, the B.1.617 variant, first detected in India, is now prevalent in 53 countries globally. The B.1.617 viruses are divided in three lineages - B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3. The update gave a break-up of prevalence of the three sub-lineages of the B.1.617 variant in countries, territories and areas as of May 25. According to it, B.1.617.1 is found in 41 countries, B.1.617.2 in 54 countries and B.1.617.3 in six. In addition, information for the B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 sub-lineages was received by WHO from unofficial sources in 11 countries, including China, and will be reviewed as more information becomes available. WHO has declared B.1.617 as a “variant of concern” and the update noted that this variant has “increased transmissibility”, disease severity is “under investigation”, risk of reinfection is “under investigation, possible modest reduction in neutralisation activity (B.1.617.1)”.