Pakistan reports first Indian double-mutant COVID-19 variant case

Lawrence Kim
May 31, 2021

India had on May 12 objected to it, identified as B.1.617 till now, being labelled the "Indian variant".

After witnessing its worst-ever crisis in health in the history of independent India, the country is on a downswing of the second wave of Covid-19 as the daily cases and deaths have started to reduce, officials said on Friday.

"The labels don't replace existing scientific names, which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research".

India registered record deaths due to Covid exactly a week back with 4,529 deaths - the highest number of fatalities from Covid infection in any country since the coronavirus outbreak was reported in China's Wuhan in December 2019. The labels are borrowed from the Greek alphabet which comprises twenty-four letters, ordered from alpha to omega.

"Virus evolution is expected, and the more SARS-CoV-2 circulates, the more opportunities it has to evolve", the report said.

The variant "earlier found" in India will be known as "Kappa", the World Health Organization has said. According to the update, the B.1.617 variant, first detected in India, is now prevalent in 53 countries globally.

The report said B.1.617 had shown increased transmissibility, while disease severity and risk of infection were under investigation.

In the last 18 days, India has recorded over 68,000 deaths. Three subtypes have since been identified by researchers - B.1.617.1 (the "original" B.1.617), B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3 - each with a slightly different genetic make-up. "As such, we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level", it had said.

The update also listed six variants of interest that are being monitored. The variants from South Africa and Brazil have been named "Beta" and "Gamma" respectively.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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