A coronavirus strain first spotted in India was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of concern,” and preliminary studies have shown it may be more transmissible than some other variants, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday (May 10).
The new strain reportedly has been seen daily in the country more than 366,000 times just on Monday (May 10). But there is no data pointing to any evidence that vaccines currently in use are any less effective against this new variant — known as B.1.617 — that spiked in India.
According to WHO, the strain has made its way across 30-plus countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France and Japan.
WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan told WSJ that “the pattern now is that one person in the family gets it, the whole family seems to get it.”
Swaminathan said that this variant is different than “the first wave” and she thinks it is “more transmissible.”
This is the fourth variant that the WHO has identified. The B.1.1.7 variant was first seen in Southeast England. Researchers found the others in South Africa and Brazil.
The surge in India has caused Amazon to delay its two-day discount event Prime Day in India as well as Canada, which was also going through a new wave of COVID-19 infections in April.
The rate of infections compared to vaccinations is a continuing concern as the world seeks to reopen and move forward. Even as new variants of the disease show up internationally, the distribution of vaccines is moving forward.
New strains have put a damper on how fast people can return to physical stores. However, as of April 5, more than 30.7 percent of the U.S. population had gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.