GENEVA: A Covid-19 variant spreading in India, which is facing an explosive outbreak, appears to be more contagious and has been classified as being “of concern”, the World Health Organization said on Monday, reports AFP.
The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 first found in India last October seemed to be transmitting more easily.“There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility of the B.1.617,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s lead on Covid-19, told reporters.
“As such, we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level,” she said.
She also pointed to early studies “suggesting that there is some reduced neutralisation”, meaning that antibodies appeared to have less impact on the variant in small-sample lab studies.
The WHO insisted though that it was far too early to interpret this to mean that the variant might have more resistance to vaccine protections.