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Swaminathan: Indian Strain “Variant of Concern”

World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumaya Swaminathan described that the Indian COVID-19 variant as more “contagious” and resistant to vaccines, RT reported on Sunday.


She explained that these reasons are the main factors for the tragic outbreak of the pandamic in India.

Known as B.1.617 starin is a double mutated variant and it was detected for the first time in October 2020. However, it carries the same characteristics of the strains emerged in Brazil and South Africa.

After discovering infections of the double mutated Indian variant in 17 countries, WHO declared the strain as a “variant of concern.”

“B 1.617 is likely to be a variant of concern because it has some mutations which increase transmission, and which also potentially could make [it] resistant to antibodies that are generated by vaccination or by natural infection,” Swaminathan told AFP.

She asserted that the unstoppable surge of Coronavirus infections can help in producing more mutated strains.

“The more the virus is replicating and spreading and transmitting, the more chances are that… mutations will develop and adapt,” the WHO official explained, adding: “Variants which accumulate a lot of mutations may ultimately become resistant to the current vaccines that we have.”

On the other hand, the professor pointed out that “huge social mixing and large gatherings” contributed in the Coronavirus crisis in India.

She continued: “In a large country like India, you could have transmission at low levels, which is what happened for many months,” adding: “At that point it’s very hard to suppress, because it’s then involving tens of thousands of people and it’s multiplying at a rate at which it’s very difficult to stop.”


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