According to a World Health Organization (WHO) study released on Wednesday, the coronavirus strain first discovered in India has now been confirmed in 53 territories.
The WHO has obtained reports from unofficial sources that the B.1.617 mutation has been discovered in seven more regions, bringing the overall amount to 60, according to estimates in the UN health agency’s weekly epidemiological report.
According to the study, B.1.617 showed improved transmissibility, and the seriousness of the disease and the likelihood of infection were being investigated.
Globally, the number of new cases and fatalities continues to decline during the past week, with about 4.1 million new cases and 84,000 new deaths registered, down 14% and 2% respectively from the previous week.
In the last seven days, new cases and fatalities in the WHO’s European region have decreased the most, led by the Southeast Asia region.
The Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, and Western Pacific regions recorded comparable numbers of cases to the previous week.
“Despite a declining global trend over the past four weeks, incidence of Covid-19 cases and deaths remain high, and substantial increases have been observed in many countries throughout the world,” the document said.
India (1,846,055 new cases, down 23 percent); Brazil (451,424 new cases, up three percent); Argentina (213,046 new cases, up 41 percent); the United States (188,410 new cases, down 20 percent); and Colombia (188,410 new cases, down 20 percent) (107,590 — down seven percent).
The update included details on four mutations classified as mutants of concern, including those first discovered in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1), and India (B.1.1.7) (B.1.617).
When calculating the total number of territories reporting each variant, the WHO combined those with which it had both official and unofficial data.
B.1.1.7 has now been reported in 149 territories; B.1.351 in 102 territories and P.1 in 59 territories.
The B.1.617 version was divided into three lineages by the WHO (B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3).
The first occurred in 41 territories, the second in 54, and the last in six: the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, India, Russia, and the United States.
Lineages of the B.1.617 version have been formally recorded in 53 countries and unofficially in seven more.
Six variants of concern are also being tracked, according to the update.
One was discovered in several continents, two were discovered in the United States, while the remaining three were discovered in Brazil, the Philippines, and France, respectively.
“Virus evolution is expected,” according to the report, “and the more SARS-CoV-2 circulates, the more opportunities it has to evolve.”
“Reducing transmission through established and proven disease-control methods… are crucial aspects of the global strategy to reduce the occurrence of mutations that have negative public health implications.”