New Delhi: A World Health Organisation (WHO) official on Monday revealed it is reclassifying the highly dangerous triple-mutant COVID-19 variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern,” which also indicates that it is now become a global health threat.
WHO’s technical lead for Coronavirus, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, said the agency will provide further information in its weekly situation report on the pandemic Tuesday.
However, she added that the Indian COVID variant, known as B.1.617, has been identified in preliminary studies to spread more easily than the original COVID virus and that there are a few evidences which shows it may have the ability to evade some of the protections provided by vaccines.
“And as such we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level,” she said during a press conference. “Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant in this lineage in all of the sub lineages, so we need more sequencing, targeted sequencing to be done.”
Last week, the World Health Organisation had said it was closely monitoring at least 10 COVID variants across the globe, including India’s B.1.617. This variant was previously labeled a “variant of interest” as further studies were requited to understand its significance, Van Kerkhove said.
“What it means for anybody at home is any of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating can infect you and spread and everything in that sense is of concern,” she said Monday. “So, all of us at home, no matter where we live, no matter what virus is circulating, we need to make sure that we take all of the measures at hand to prevent ourselves from getting sick.”
India’s COVID-19 fight
India reported more than 3,66,000 new infections in the last 24 hours. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare the country recorded 3,66,161 new COVID-19cases on Monday morning. A significant decrease of nearly 40,000 cases was seen from a previous day high of 4,03,738 infectionson May 9.
These new COVID-19 cases has pushed the country’s total tally to 2,26,62,575 in the country as on May 10.
India has so far administered more than 17 crore doses of the coronavirus vaccine, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed on Monday. A total of 17,01,76,603 doses were given till 7 am on May 10, as per the data. Out of these, 6,89,652 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.