India's coronavirus mutation of 'global concern' warns WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned a coronavirus strain first detected in India last year is of “global concern" – with preliminary studies showing it spreads more easily.
The global health body said the so-called B.1.617 mutation, which appears to cause more severe illness, had already spread to more than 30 countries.
Small-sample lab studies suggested antibodies had less impact on the variant, WHO lead epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told reporters Monday.
It was too early to say whether the variant might be more resistant to vaccines, the WHO said.
"Today, @thewhof is launching the “#TogetherForIndia” appeal to raise funds to support WHO’s work in #India, including the purchase of oxygen, personal protective equipment and medicines"-@DrTedros https://t.co/iQ70lBuKI7 pic.twitter.com/pviBnIQT9t— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) May 10, 2021
"Based on current data, the Covid-19 vaccines remain effective at preventing disease and death in people infected with this variant," it said in a statement.
India is suffering from one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world, with daily cases rising by almost 330,000 Monday.
Scientists are working to determine whether the variant is behind the surge that is causing thousands of deaths every day.
With hospitals and crematoriums overwhelmed, experts say the real virus figures may be higher than those being reported.
In response, the WHO is launching an appeal under the hashtag "TogetherForIndia" to raise funds to support its work in the country, including the purchase of oxygen, personal protective equipment and medicine.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe