B.1.617 COVID variant, first detected in India, found in 65% of samples sequenced: Harsh Vardhan
New Delhi, May 24: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that the B.1.617 coronavirus strain, first identified in India, has been found in 65% of samples sequenced in the country.
"When we talk about genome sequencing, over 25,739 samples have been sequenced by INSACOG and 9,508 were found with variants of concern. Out of these, B.1.617 variant was found in almost 65 per cent of the samples making it one of the most common variants," said Vardhan at the 27th group of ministers' (GoM) meeting on Covid-19.
What is B.1.617.2 covid variant?
The COVID-19 variant first identified in India has been classified as a "variant of concern" by Britain and the World Health Organisation, meaning there is some evidence that it spreads more easily between people, causes more severe disease, or might be less responsive to treatments and vaccines.
How transmissible is the variant?
Scientists said "it is a realistic possibility that (the variant first seen in India) is as much as 50% more transmissible" than the variant first reported in Britain - whose explosive spread led to the country''s longest lockdown in January.