The World Health Organization has classified the Covid-19 variant spreading in India as more contagious.
The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 first found in India last October seemed to be transmitting more easily.
“There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility of the B.1.617,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s lead on Covid-19, told reporters.
“As such, we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level,” she said.
She also pointed to early studies “suggesting that there is some reduced neutralisation”, meaning that antibodies appeared to have less impact on the variant in small-sample lab studies.
The B.1.617 variant is the fourth variant to be designated as being of global concern and requiring heightened tracking and analysis after the ones that were first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil