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Global concern over Indian virus variant, says WHO

B.1.617 variant seems to be spreading fast

We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level, said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead.

MUMBAI, May 11 (The COINNECT) - Even as the WHO has launched “Together for India” appeal to raise funds for its work in this country, the organisation raised huge concerns over the B.1.617 variant of the Corona virus.

Commenting on the variant traced in India last year, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19 said: "We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level." "There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility."

This comment is bound to send ripples across the globe as India continues to reel under the COVID crisis with the day’s tally of 3,66,161 cases and 3,754 deaths. The cumulative cases have shot up to 22,662,575 and deaths so far to 2,46,116

Earlier, WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the global media that the WHO Foundation is launching the “Together for India” appeal to raise funds to support WHO’s work in India, including for the purchase of oxygen, personal protective equipment and medicines.

Ge described the global situation as perilous and pointed out that the spread of variants, increased social mixing, the relaxation of public health and social measures and inequitable vaccination are all driving transmission.

And cases and deaths are still increasing rapidly in WHO’s South-East Asia region, and there are countries in every region with increasing trends, he said.

“Yes, vaccines are reducing severe disease and death in countries that are fortunate enough to have them in sufficient quantities, and early results suggest that vaccines might also drive down transmission,” Dr Tedros said.

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