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‘Indian Strain’ Of Coronavirus Found In 17 Countries: WHO

The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV2 or the ‘Indian strain’, feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India, has been designated as the Variants of Interest (VOI) by the World Health Organisation

'Indian Strain' Of Coronavirus Found In 17 Countries: WHO
Highlights
  • B.1.617.3 was first detected in India in October 2020
  • In many cities in Maharashtra B.1.617 variant was found: Expert
  • Globally, new COVID-19 cases increased for the ninth consecutive week: WHO

Geneva: The ‘Indian strain’ of the coronavirus, also known as B.1.617 or a ‘double mutant’, has been found in at least 17 countries, the WHO has said, as the world grapples to contain the surge in the COVID-19 cases with 5.7 million infections detected last week, surpassing previous peaks.

Also Read: WHO Bolsters Support To India To Tackle Second COVID-19 Wave

The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV2 or the ‘Indian strain’, feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India, has been designated as the Variants of Interest (VOI) by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN health agency said in its weekly epidemiological update on Tuesday.

As of 27 April, over 1,200 sequences have been uploaded to GISAID and assigned to lineage B.1.617 (collectively) from at least 17 countries, it said, adding that most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore.

GISAID is a global science initiative and primary source established in 2008 that provides open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants within Pango lineage B.1.617 were recently reported as a VOI from India and have recently been designated as VOIs by WHO, it said.

The WHO said that studies have highlighted that the spread of the second wave has been much faster than the first in India.

Preliminary modelling by WHO based on sequences submitted to GISAID suggest that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, suggesting potential increased transmissibility, with other co-circulating variants also demonstrating increased transmissibility. Other drivers may include challenges around the implementation and adherence to public health and social measures (PHSM), and social gatherings (including mass gatherings during cultural and religious celebrations, and elections). Further investigation is needed to understand the relative contribution of these factors,” the report by the global health body said.

Also Read: COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: Should Women Avoid COVID Vaccine During Periods? How To Use A Pulse Oximeter?

In many cities in Maharashtra – the worst-hit state in India – the B.1.617 variant was found in more than 50 per cent of samples on which genome sequencing was conducted, Sujeet Singh, the Director of the National Centre for Disease Control, had said in a webinar on genome sequencing last week.

The B.1.617 variant comprises several sub-lineages, including B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3, which slightly differ by their characteristic mutations, the WHO report said. Both B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 were first identified in India in December 2020, and have been detected at increasing prevalence concurrent to the major upsurge observed in the country.

B.1.617.3 was first detected in India in October 2020, but relatively fewer viruses matching this sub-lineage have been reported to date, the report said. The B.1.617 variant has three new spike protein mutations. Two mutations — E484Q and L452R — are in the area important for antibody-based neutralisation. The third mutation — P681R — allows the virus to enter cells a little better. These are defining characteristics of the variant.

Covishield and Covaxin – the two coronavirus vaccines currently in use in India – have efficacy against the ‘Indian strain’ and show “milder” illness in case of infection post vaccination, Anurag Agrawal, the Director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), said, citing preliminary results of a study.

The WHO said that globally, new COVID-19 cases increased for the ninth consecutive week, with nearly 5.7 million new cases reported in the last week, surpassing previous peaks and India accounts for 38 per cent of the global cases reported during the period. The number of new deaths increased for the sixth consecutive week, with over 87,000 new deaths reported. For the third consecutive week, the South-East Asia region reported the highest relative increases in both case and death incidences.

While a number of countries in the region are reporting upward trends, India accounts for the vast majority of cases from this regional trend and 38 per cent of global cases reported in the past week, it said.

With 52 per cent increase, India has reported the highest number of new cases (21,72,063) followed by the US (406,001 new cases; 15 per cent decrease), Brazil (404,623 new cases; 12 per cent decrease), Turkey (378,771 new cases; 9 per cent decrease), and France (211,674 new cases; 9 per cent decrease).

Also Read: COVID Vaccination: Dos And Don’ts To Remember As Vaccines Rollout For All Adults From May 1

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,06,78,961Cases
20,23,40,977Active
3,34,39,331Recovered
48,98,653Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,06,78,961 and 48,98,653 have died; 20,23,40,977 are active cases and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 4:17 am.

India

3,40,81,315 13,596Cases
1,89,6946,152Active
3,34,39,331 19,582Recovered
4,52,290 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,81,315 confirmed cases including 4,52,290 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,89,694 and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,91,697 1,715

32,230 994

64,19,678 2,680

1,39,789 29

Kerala

48,54,321 7,555

88,186 3,292

47,39,270 10,773

26,865 74

Karnataka

29,83,459 326

9,479 58

29,36,039 380

37,941 4

Tamil Nadu

26,87,092 1,218

14,814 208

26,36,379 1,411

35,899 15

Andhra Pradesh

20,60,472 432

6,034 159

20,40,131 586

14,307 5

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,028 9

119 10

16,87,011 19

22,898

West Bengal

15,80,530 624

7,421 24

15,54,132 634

18,977 14

Delhi

14,39,390 32

320 6

14,13,981 38

25,089

Odisha

10,35,077 443

4,542 68

10,22,250 508

8,285 3

Chhattisgarh

10,05,654 16

183 2

9,91,901 14

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,390 2

42 2

9,45,394 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,290 10

207 6

8,15,997 16

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,684 5

84 12

7,82,077 17

10,523

Haryana

7,71,076 15

123 9

7,60,904 6

10,049

Bihar

7,26,026 5

48 4

7,16,317 1

9,661

Telangana

6,68,955 122

3,924 55

6,61,093 176

3,938 1

Assam

6,06,468 205

3,436 46

5,97,082 245

5,950 6

Punjab

6,02,035 27

227 8

5,85,264 16

16,544 3

Jharkhand

3,48,430 7

122 1

3,43,173 8

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,756 9

178 1

3,36,181 8

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,062 95

843 12

3,25,793 107

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,437 131

1,303 5

2,16,414 125

3,720 1

Goa

1,77,522 60

604 6

1,73,572 62

3,346 4

Puducherry

1,27,396 52

585 13

1,24,961 64

1,850 1

Manipur

1,22,737 104

1,422 0

1,19,418 102

1,897 2

Mizoram

1,12,848 249

11,633 1,143

1,00,829 1,389

386 3

Tripura

84,321 16

104 4

83,401 12

816

Meghalaya

82,953 55

845 32

80,673 86

1,435 1

Chandigarh

65,302 3

25 3

64,457 6

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,987 7

140 30

54,567 37

280

Sikkim

31,749 4

174 8

31,184 12

391

Nagaland

31,611 40

248 12

30,689 28

674

Ladakh

20,878 2

36 10

20,634 12

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676 1

4 1

10,668

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,641

9 0

7,503

129

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