The World Health Organisation (WHO,) on the 28th of April, confirmed 17 countries to have double mutant COVID-19 variant (B1617) of India.
The new double mutant of COVID-19 virus was first detected in India on the 1st December 2020, and has now spread to at least 17 countries. According to the WHO, nations like the United Kingdom (U.K.,) the United States of America (U.S.A.,) Singapore and Germany. Over 1,200 sequences have been uploaded on the open access database GISAID (the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data.) GISAID is a German non-profit organisation — was launched in 2016 as a database for sharing flu genomescases.
The WHO update regarding the new double mutant of COVID-19 virus said, “Preliminary modelling by WHO based on sequences submitted to GISAID suggest that B1617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, suggesting potential increased transmissibility, with other co-circulating variants also demonstrating increased transmissibility.” It further read, “Other drivers may include challenges around the implementation and adherence to public health and social measures and social gatherings (including mass gatherings during cultural and religious celebrations, and elections.)
It is to be noted, most of these sequences are from India, the U.K., Singapore and the U.S.A.
In addition, with this wave of double mutant in few countries, the global number of COVID-19 cases increased rapidly for the ninth consecutive week. Nearly 5.7 million new cases reported in the last one week, which exceeded the first wave of COVID-19 worldwide. Of the new cases, 38 % of global cases reported in the past week are from India. Adding to it, India also became the second worst COVID-19 hit Nation with 18 million positive cases. The first worst hit Nation is the U.S.A., with 32.3 million cases.
Meanwhile, globally the cases stand at 149 million positive cases and 3.5 million deaths due to COVID-19.