The coronavirus variant first detected in India has now been officially registered in 53 territories, a World Health Organization report showed on Wednesday.
In addition, WHO has received information from unofficial sources that variant B.1.617 has been found in seven other territories, according to figures in the United Nations health agency’s weekly epidemiological update, showing the total to 60.
The report indicated that B.1.617 had shown increased transmissibility, while the severity of the disease and the risk of infection were under investigation.
Globally, over the past week, the number of new cases and deaths continued to decline, with an estimated 4.1 million new cases and 84,000 new deaths reported – a decrease of 14% and 2% respectively compared to the previous week.
The WHO European region reported the largest drop in new cases and deaths in the past seven days, followed by the Southeast Asia region.
The number of cases reported from the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa and the Western Pacific region was similar to those reported the previous week.
“Despite a global downward trend over the past four weeks, the incidence of Covid-19 cases and deaths remains high, and substantial increases have been seen in many countries around the world,” the document said. .
The highest numbers of new cases in the past seven days were reported in India (1,846,055 – down 23 percent); Brazil (451,424 – up 3%); Argentina (213,046 – up 41 percent), the United States (188,410 – down 20 percent) and Colombia (107,590 – down 7 percent).
– Variant detection –
The update provided information on the four mutations classified as variants of concern: those first reported in Great Britain (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P. 1) and in India (B.1.617).
When counting the total number of territories reporting each variant, WHO added those for which it had official and unofficial information.
B.1.1.7 has now been reported in 149 territories; B.1.351 in 102 territories and P.1 in 59 territories.
WHO has divided the figures for variant B.1.617 into three lines (B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3).
The first was reported in a total of 41 territories, the second in 54 and the third in six: Great Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Russia and the United States.
Together, the B.1.617 variant lines have been officially registered in 53 territories and unofficially in seven others.
The update also listed six variations of interest that are being watched.
One was first discovered in several countries, two of them were first discovered in the United States, while the other three were first discovered in Brazil, the Philippines and France.
“The evolution of the virus is expected, and the more SARS-CoV-2 circulates, the more opportunities it has to evolve,” said the report.
“Reducing transmission through established and proven disease control methods… are crucial aspects of the global strategy to reduce the occurrence of mutations that have negative implications for public health. “
© 2021 AFP