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INDIA – A new and even more worrisome variant of Covid-19


India has lost control of the virus. Covid-19 is beginning to rise to alarming proportions with a new variant. Over the past seven days, 250,000 infections have been recorded every day in the country. The day of Wednesday, April 21, 2021 broke the records of daily infections since 300,000 positive cases were counted. This remarkable spike in the number of cases in the country could be due to the new “Indian variant”.

India is now going through difficult times with this health crisis that is difficult to control. After several months of calm, the country is experiencing a worrying daily contamination rate. The appearance of a new variant called B.1.617 could be the cause. First detected in October 2020 in Nagpur, central India, it is described by medical experts as a “double mutant”. Patrick Berche, microbiologist and member of the Academy of Medicine, explains that the complexity of this variant is that it is the junction of several other variants already detected in Brazil, South Africa or the United States. According to him it is a mutant that has mutations that are found in a Californian variant, on the one hand, and another mutation on the same variant that is found in the Brazilian and south-African and would be more contagious and less accessible to vaccine protection. 

Still according to him, the “Indian variant” would be more virulent and even more contagious. It is responsible for more than 55% of cases of contamination in the state of Maharashtra, in central-western India. In the rest of the country, it is the cause of 10% of Covid-19 positive cases. What is special about this virus is that it quickly reaches young people with a higher risk of lethality. This is what explains the anxiety of Indian doctors especially since so far, no study allows to master the contours of this variant.  

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The French doctor always specifies that vaccination campaigns must be accelerated because if the virus continues to circulate, there will inevitably be variants. The other major difficulty is that when studying the characteristics of one variant, another one appears with its specificities. “What is very disturbing is that the faster the virus multiplies, the more likely it is that mutants will appear. We will not control this pandemic if we do not vaccinate third world countries that cannot afford the vaccines. We really need a global vision, a global vision to fight this virus. There will always be the possibility of a variant coming by plane, for example, seeding Europe or the United States,‘ adds Patrick Berchel.

It should be noted that beyond the Indian territory, the new variant named B.1.617 is also present in England, Germany, Canada and Singapore, according to information from Public Health France.


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