India has been hit by a second wave of the epidemic, with new cases of COVID-19 (Chinese Communist Virus) infection setting a new world record over the past few days. The number of confirmed cases worldwide in a single day has increased dramatically for several days. The World Health Organization (WHO) says a variant of COVID-19, which is causing the surge in India, has been confirmed in at least 17 countries.
India’s severe outbreak is now the focus of global attention, with the number of new infections in the country reaching 350,000 on a single day on the 27th alone, breaking global records again, with a record number of deaths on a single day, and the risk of global spread of the raging epidemic.
AFP reports that the WHO said that as of the 27th, the Global Influenza Data Sharing Platform (GISAID) had received more than 1,200 sequences showing confirmed cases of COVID-19 variant strain B.1.617, which first appeared in India, in at least 17 countries.
Most of the sequences uploaded to the GISAID open database came from India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore, the WHO said in its routine weekly update of the outbreak report.
The Indian variant of B.1.617 was reportedly first identified in October 2020.
The BBC recently reported that the variant was detected in 220 of 361 COVID-19 virus samples collected in the western Indian state of Maharashtra (Maharashtra) between January and March this year. It also noted that 103 cases of the Indian variant have been detected in the United Kingdom since Feb. 22.
WHO recently classified variant B.1.617 as a “variant of interest”, but so far has not classified this variant as a “variant of concern”. concern.
The “variant of concern” label would imply that B.1.617 is more dangerous than the original virus, e.g., that it may be more easily transmitted, more lethal, or resistant to vaccines.
The WHO acknowledged that preliminary modeling based on the sequences from GISAID showed “a higher growth rate of B.1.617 than other existing strains of the virus in India, suggesting that it may have increased transmission”.
But WHO also stressed that other circulating strains also showed increased transmission, and that various factors “may have played a considerable role in the surge in India”.