The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that a variant of Covid-19 behind the acceleration of India’s explosive outbreak has been found in dozens of countries all over the world, AFP reports.
The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, first found in India in October, had been detected in more than 4,500 samples uploaded to an open-access database “from 44 countries in all six WHO regions”.
“And WHO has received reports of detections from five additional countries,” it said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.
Outside of India, it said that Britain had reported the largest number of Covid cases caused by the variant.
The variant of the coronavirus first detected in India, which is believed to be driving the explosion of cases there, has now been found in 49 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
The version, which has been named B.1.617, was upgraded on Monday to a “variant of concern” by the WHO amid evidence that it transmits faster than the original virus and may be more resistant to some covid treatments as well as antibodies. Lab testing has still shown some degree of vaccine effectiveness against it.
Britain has reported the most cases of the variant outside India.
The variant is one of the reasons cited for the surge of cases in India that the WHO said made up half of all new infections in the world over the past week and 30 percent of all the deaths. India reported 348,421 new cases Wednesday and a record 4,205 deaths. In every other region in the world, the number of new cases is falling.