Published: Thu, May 13, 2021

More than 4,000 Indians die of Covid-19 for second straight day

More than 4,000 Indians die of Covid-19 for second straight day

"The prevalence of several VOCs (variant of concern) including B117 and B1617 sublineages increased concurrent to the surge in Covid-19 cases reported in India", the World Health Organization update stated.

"Several media reports have covered the news of the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying B.1.617 as a variant of global concern".

The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV2 or the "Indian strain", feared to be contributing to a surge in cases in India, was designated as a "variant of concern" by WHO.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is "closely monitoring" a coronavirus variant first identified in India, a spokesperson told Fox News.

Regarding the transferability of B.1.617 - "variant of concern", Kerkhove said, "In consultation with our virus evolution working group and our teams, there is some information about increased transferability of B.1.617".

"As of May 11, over 4,500 sequences have been uploaded to GISAID and assigned to B.1.617 from 44 countries in all six WHO regions", the global health body said in its latest weekly epidemiological update published on Tuesday.

Adding that the variant behind India's surging cases has been reported in almost 50 countries, the global health agency has designated the B.1.617 variant found there of global concern but said its full impact is not yet clear.

"The government guidelines said the report should read positive, it doesn't matter how critical the person is, nobody cared".

Meanwhile, preliminary data in mixing vaccines has found an increased frequency of mild to moderate symptoms in those who received different jabs for the first and second dose.

Health agencies escalate or de-escalate variants as scientific evidence evolves, a CDC spokesperson said in a statement, adding that US classifications of variants may not align with those of the WHO "since the importance of variants may differ by location".

The WHO insisted though that it was far too early to interpret this to mean that the variant might have more resistance to vaccine protections.

Variants of concern are those considered more risky than the original form of the virus first seen in China in late 2019.

With a record 4,205 deaths in the past 24 hours in India, the variant stoking the country's surge has now been detected in dozens of other countries across the globe. "This appears to be posing the biggest threat right now in terms of transmissibility, with many countries reporting increasing trajectories of the B.1.617 variant", she said. As of today, it had fully vaccinated just over 38.2 million people, or about 2.8 per cent of a population of about 1.35 billion, government data shows.

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from India (2,738,957 new cases; 5% increase), Brazil (423,438 new cases; similar to previous week), the U.S. (334,784 new cases; 3% decrease), Turkey (166,733 new cases; 35% decrease), and Argentina (140,771 new cases; 8% decrease).

While B117 and B16171 variants have begun to wane in recent weeks, a marked increase in the proportion of viruses sequenced as B16172 has been observed over the same period. It cautioned that India, like many countries, is only sequencing a tiny fraction of positive samples, and that with so little surveillance, it's hard to reach any firm conclusions about B.1.617.

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