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WHO classifies India’s coronavirus variant as being of global concern

May 10, 2021
“We classify it as a variant of concern at a global level,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, told reporters. — Courtesy file photo
“We classify it as a variant of concern at a global level,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, told reporters. — Courtesy file photo

GENEVA — The World Health Organization said on Monday it is reclassifying the highly contagious triple-mutant coronavirus variant spreading in India as a “variant of concern,” indicating that it’s become a global health threat.

“We classify it as a variant of concern at a global level,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, told reporters. “There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility.”

Kerkhove said the global health agency will provide more details in its weekly situation report on the pandemic on Tuesday but added that the variant, known as B.1.617, has been found in preliminary studies to spread more easily than the original virus and there is some evidence it may able to evade vaccines.

“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,” she added.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the WHO Foundation was launching a "Together for India" appeal to raise funds to purchase oxygen, medicines and protective equipment for health workers. — Agencies




May 10, 2021
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