‘Spread of a variant in India could be circumventing some vaccine protections’ | India News
GENEVA: A variant of Covid-19 spreading in India is more contagious and there are fears that it may be circumventing some vaccine protections, contributing to the country’s explosive outbreak, the WHO chief scientist said on Saturday. In an interview with AFP, Soumya Swaminathan He warned that “the epidemiological characteristics that we see in India today indicate that it is an extremely fast-spreading variant.”
Swaminathan, an Indian pediatrician and clinical scientist, said that the B.1.617 The Covid-19 variant was clearly a contributing factor to the unfolding catastrophe in India. “There have been a lot of accelerators that have gotten into this,” the 62-year-old said, emphasizing that “one of them is a more rapidly spreading virus.”
WHO recently listed B.1.617 as a “variant of interest”. Various national health authorities, including those in the US and Brittany, have said they consider B.1.617 a variant of concern, and Swaminathan said he hoped WHO would soon do the same. “It is likely that B.1.617 is a worrying variant because it has some mutations that increase transmission and that could also make it resistant to antibodies generated by vaccination or by natural infection,” he said.
But he insisted that the variant alone could not be blamed for the dramatic increase in cases and deaths in India, pointing to “a huge social mix and large gatherings” in recent months.