GANEVA: The WHO on Tuesday said that only one variant of the coronavirus first detected in India, namely B.1.617.2 or Delta, is presently considered a variant of concern or VOC, reports AFP. The organization had earlier considered the entire strain of B.1.617 and not merely the one sub-lineage as VOC.
"It has become evident that greater public health risks are currently associated with B.1.617.2, while lower rates of transmission of other lineages have been observed," the World Health Organization said. Currently, four strains of the virus are VOC as they exhibit advanced transmissibility, are more deadly or can get past vaccines.
"We continue to observe significantly increased transmissibility and a growing number of countries reporting outbreaks associated with this variant," the UN agency said. "Further studies into the impact of this variant remain a high priority for WHO."
Furthermore, a variant of Delta was announced by Vietnam on Saturday. "What we understand is that it is this B.1.617.2 variant with one additional deletion in the location of the spike protein," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's the technical lead on Covid-19, said. "We know that the B.1.617.2, the Delta variant, does have increased transmissibility, which means it can spread easier between people."