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News Highlights

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that the Indian coronavirus variant (B1617), now declared as "variant of global concern" has spread to 44 countries.

  • The B1617 variant was first identified in India in October, and now, the variant has been detected in over 4500 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database, till May 11, "from 44 countries in all six WHO regions."

New Delhi: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare clarified on Wednesday that WHO has not associated the term "Indian Variant" with B.1.617, now classified as "Variant of Concern".

Several media reports have covered the news of World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying B.1.617 as variant of global concern. Some of these reports have termed the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus as an "Indian Variant".

"These media reports are without any basis, and unfounded. This is to clarify that WHO has not associated the term "Indian Variant" with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in its 32 page document. In fact, the word "Indian" has not been used in its report on the matter," it said

As per media reports, earlier the World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that the Indian coronavirus variant (B1617), now declared as "variant of global concern" has spread to 44 countries.

The B1617 variant was first identified in India in October, and now, the variant has been detected in over 4500 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database, till May 11, "from 44 countries in all six WHO regions," the global health agency said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic on Tuesday.

The WHO has also "received reports of detections from five additional countries", the update said.

The Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) is a German non-profit organisation, launched in 2016 as a database for sharing flu genomes.

As per reports, the WHO's SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Working Group on Tuesday determined that viruses within the lineage B1617 are a variant of concern.

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