WHO does not describe B.1.167 as Indian variant: Govt

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on May 12, 2021

The Indian government has said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) did not use the term ‘Indian variant’ to describe the B.1.617 variant of Coronavirus.

In an official statement issued on Wednesday, the government stated that “several media reports have covered the news of World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying B.1.617 as a variant of global concern. Some of these reports have termed the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus as an Indian variant”.


“These media reports are without any basis and unfounded,” it said, adding that this is to clarify that WHO has not associated the term Indian variant with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in its 32-page document. In fact, the word ‘Indian’ has not been used in its report on the matter.

The WHO had termed the coronavirus variant B.1.617, first identified in India last year, as a “variant of global concern”, with increased transmissibility. This is the fourth variant of coronavirus to be classified as a “variant of concern at global level”.

“Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need more information about this virus variant in this lineage in all of the sub lineages, so we need more sequencing, targeted sequencing to be done,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19 was quoted as saying in reports on Monday.

India reported 3,48,421 Covid cases on Wednesday, with 4,205 deaths reported in the last 24 hours up to 8:00 am, the highest in single-day casualties reported so far. Cumulatively, coronavirus infections stood at 2,33,40,938, of which, the total active cases were 37,04,099, recovered were 1,93,82,642, and the death toll at 2,54,197, according to the Health Ministry data.

Published on May 12, 2021

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