WHO: Coronavirus variant 1st detected in India is of global concern

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The World Health Organization on Monday announced that B.1.617, the coronavirus variant first identified in India, is of global concern.

Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of WHO's coronavirus response, said that there is "some available information to suggest some increased transmissibility of B.1.617," and more research is needed to determine whether COVID-19 vaccines are as effective against this variant. There are three other variants of global concern: the strains first detected in Britain, South Africa, and Brazil.

B.1.617 was first detected in India in October. The country is now experiencing a devastating COVID-19 outbreak, with hundreds of thousands of new cases reported every day. On Saturday, India recorded 4,187 deaths — the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic. Many believe that the actual number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths is much higher than what has been reported.

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